SEF chairman hopes cross-strait talks to be held next month

Staff Writer, with CNA, SHANGHAI

Sat, May 14, 2011 - Page 3

Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Chiang Pin-kung (江丙坤) in Shanghai yesterday expressed the hope that the next formal round of cross-strait talks could be held by the end of next month. However, he added that the actual timing of a meeting would depend on progress made on an investment protection deal.

One of the top items on the agenda is an investment protection agreement, a deal that was expected to be clinched during the most recent round of formal talks in December, but fell through in part because of a lack of consensus over the deal’s arbitration mechanism.

Taiwan wanted the deal to stipulate that disputes would be settled by international arbiters, but China balked because it feared such a deal would tacitly acknowledge Taiwan’s sovereignty.

Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林), Chiang’s Chinese counterpart, said cross-strait nuclear safety would be another focus of the next round of talks and that follow-up to Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement issues, such as trade in goods and services and a dispute resolution mechanism, were also on the table.

Chen was also asked about Taiwan’s protest over an internal WHO document requiring that communications refer to Taiwan as “the Taiwan Province of China” and “be listed or shown as falling under China and not separately as if they referred to a State.”

“There are unavoidable difficulties under the present situation. Although there may be differences on views on certain matters, continued cooperation has been the consensus,” Chen said, sidestepping the question.