China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) yesterday said the organization would respond to the wishes of Taiwanese businesspeople and sign more cross-strait agreements to promote cross-strait economic development, while protecting the rights of Taiwanese businesspeople in China.
Chen and the Chinese delegation visited the new Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) building in Taipei as the last stop of a three-day visit, before returning to China.
Accompanied by SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤), Chen said the SEF office building had been constructed thanks to donations from several private corporations, and both the SEF and ARATS would continue efforts to build a better investment environment for businesspeople across the Taiwan Strait.
“The building is a symbol of the fruitful achievements of cross-strait relations and the donations from so many enterprises reflect public expectations of the peace across the Taiwan Strait and the wishes of tens of thousands of Taiwanese businesspeople that the two sides sign more agreements to protect their rights,” he said.
Chen’s comments follow Thursday’s inking of the cross-strait investment protection and promotion agreement in Taipei by the SEF and ARATS during their eighth cross-strait talks.
There are speculations that cross-strait negotiations this week could mark the last “Chiang-Chen meeting,” as Chen may retire from his post amid China’s upcoming power transition, while Chiang is also said to be readying to step down due to a planned personnel reshuffle under President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration.
Both Chiang and Chen yesterday declined to discuss the issue. Chiang said that he expected to meet with Chen again in a short time when he leads a cultural group on a trip to Taiwan.
Earlier yesterday, Chen declined to confirm whether he had referred to Mainland Affairs Council chairperson Lai Shin-yuan (賴幸媛) as “Chairperson Lai” during their closed-door meeting on Thursday night, insisting that they had a pleasant conversation during the meeting.
“We had a great conversation during the meeting yesterday. It was very pleasant,” he said when approached by reporters before leaving the Grand Hotel.
Chen has always referred to Lai as “you,” rather than her official title, at their previous cross-strait negotiation meetings. However, Lai insisted after the meeting on Thursday night that Chen had addressed her as “Chairperson Lai” in the closed-door meeting.