Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) officials will be dispatched to the Straits Exchange Foundation’s (SEF) offices in China, as the two organizations work together to strengthen cross-strait development, MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) said yesterday.
The SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), have reached a consensus following a meeting last month to set up offices on each side of the Strait, with the foundation preferring Chinese cities where the majority of Taiwanese businesspeople and students are based.
As China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) and the ARATS have always worked together while being two different government bodies, the TAO will also send officials to the ARATs’ office in Taiwan, he said.
“Officials from the Mainland Affairs Council and the Straits Exchange Foundation are from different organizations, but we will work together in the same SEF offices in China … The cross-strait offices will still function under the titles of the Straits Exchange Foundation and the ARATS, and are not offices set up by the governments of the two sides [of the strait],” Wang said yesterday during a press conference.
The opening of SEF-ARATS offices is in line with President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) China policy and is aimed at enhancing cross-strait ties.
The government is reviewing the Act Governing Relations between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (臺灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例), which governs legal matters between people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Wang yesterday stressed that the Ma administration’s policy of promoting cross-strait relations under the so-called “1992 consensus,” and said that the dispatch of Taiwan Affairs Office and Mainland Affairs Council officials to reciprocal offices should not create the impression that the two governments are promoting cross-strait development under nation-to-nation relations.
The Mainland Affairs Council will invite the SEF and other government bodies to establish a task force this year to facilitate the opening of the offices on each side of the Taiwan Strait, he said.