The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) is closely inspecting the Statute Governing the Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the People of the Mainland Area (兩岸人民關係條例) to find a legal basis on which the Chinese Association for the Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) can legally set up an office in Taiwan, Mainland Affairs Council Minister Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) said yesterday.
Lai’s comments came in response to the joint statement made by the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) National Policy Foundation and the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Central Office for Taiwan Affairs.
The statement listed 17 items that were agreed upon by delegates attending the two-day cross-strait economic, trade and culture forum in Harbin, China, which included the gradual implementation of general offices across the Strait.
While attending a press conference on the investment guarantee accords, Lai said that setting up offices on either side of the Strait by ARATS and the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) was one of the plans of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.
However, Lai said the government was still in talks with China on the matter and that the plans were only at the preparatory stage.
As the implementation of the policy fell within the legal confines of the act, Lai said that the council was making the motions of amending the act by sending amendment applications to the Executive Yuan and asking the Executive Yuan to forward the suggestions to the legislature, Lai said.
Council Deputy Minister and spokesperson Liu Te-shun (劉德勳) said that talks on the issue were still in session.
Meanwhile, speaking about a possible cross-strait currency settlement mechanism, Lai said that both sides of the Strait were actively working on the issue, hoping to establish one as soon as possible.
“Hopefully we would be able to conclude talks on the trade in services mechanism by the end of the year,” Lai said, adding that while both sides showed an active attitude in negotiations, there was no given deadline as to the conclusion of the talks.