Sat, Aug 08, 2009 - Page 3 News List

China talks scheduled for December

DPA AND AFP , TAIPEI

Taiwan and China are expected to hold their fourth dialogue since President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) took office last year and sign four agreements in December, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) said yesterday.

“The dialogue will probably be held in Taiwan in December. It will see the signing of pacts on fishing cooperation, standardization, avoiding double taxation and investment protection,” he said in an interview with the Broadcasting Corp of China.

Chiang said the two sides would also discuss an economic cooperation framework agreement (ECFA), but would not sign it during the dialogue.

Regarding a Chinese official’s recent remark that the time was ripe for Taipei and Beijing to hold political talks, Chiang said it was too early to hold political talks.

“Cross-strait exchange should move from discussing economic issues first and political issues later, discussing easy topics first and difficult topics later. The economy is important for Taiwan and this is a huge topic. So in the next couple of years, we should tackle economic issues, then educational and cultural issues, then political issues,” he said.

Since Ma took office, the two sides have further opened sea, air, tourism and postal links and plan to exchange tourism representative offices before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, in other news, former premier and minister of national defense Hau Pei-tsun (郝柏村) was due to arrive in Beijing yesterday, a local newspaper reported.

Hau, who served as Taiwan’s chief of the general staff, minister of national defense and premier in the 1980s and early 1990s, would be received by “Chinese military authorities” in Beijing, the United Daily News reported.

Ninety-year-old Hau is the father of Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) and a senior member of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT).

He is also expected to meet China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) and attend the opening of a painting exhibition, the newspaper said.

A senior Chinese official has said China was open to discussing defense issues with Taiwan, but denied reports that representatives of each side’s military would hold their first meeting in 60 years in Hawaii this month.

In April, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi (李維一) said cross-strait military exchanges on the issue of military security and mutual trust could be initiated by retired servicemen.

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