Fri, Apr 10, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Cross-strait talks likely to be held in Nanjing, MAC says

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

Yu Chong, right, director of the Shandong Provincial Tourism Administration, shows a can of Tsingtao Beer to Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung at the opening of a tourism fair at the Grand Hotel in Taipei yesterday.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

The next high-level cross-strait talks are likely to be held in Nanjing, China, the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) said yesterday.

MAC Deputy Minister Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said as Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) and his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yun-lin (陳雲林), had agreed at their last meeting that the next meeting would be held outside Beijing, Taipei proposed that it be held in Nanjing.

Liu said the date for the meeting had not been finalized, but it would take place either next month or in June.

Both sides still needed to iron out some differences before the exact time and place of the meeting is settled, Liu said. He did not elaborate.

As the next round of Chiang-Chen meeting approaches, the MAC has also stepped up its promotion of the government’s cross-strait policies.

The council yesterday released TV commercials featuring Lai in Mandarin and Hoklo (also known as Taiwanese) and Mandarin and Hakka. The 40-second and 90-second films, which begin airing on certain channels today, depict the cross-strait policy of the former Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) government as closed-door compared with that of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) administration.

MAC Chairman Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said her council was like the “door gods” who welcome guests, ward off evil spirits and protect the family. All cross-strait negotiations would be conducted on the basis that Taiwan and the people come first, she said, adding that the government would do its best to protect the sovereignty and security of the nation when negotiating.

At a separate setting yesterday, Chiang said the government would talk about the possibility of opening more cities in China to cross-strait charter flights in the forthcoming talks.

As of last month, the average occupancy rate for cross-strait charter flights had topped 96 percent, he said, adding that the current 108 charter flights per week would soon be unable to meet the rising demand.

Chiang said officials at the Ministry of Transportation and Communications were negotiating with their counterparts on issues related to regular daily flights and additional airports that can be opened for cross-strait flights.

ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY SHELLEY SHAN

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