Cross-strait talks are not being limited to trade and economic issues, but are also covering more diverse topics such as environmental protection, according to Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森).
Lin said that follow-up talks on the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which covers trade in goods and services and a dispute-settlement mechanism are currently in progress, with the two sides agreeing to prioritize talks on services.
“All kinds of cross-strait exchanges have been going on in a diversified way,” Lin said in an interview on Friday, adding that exchanges over technology, environmental protection, education, sports and culture have also been conducted.
The two sides have communicated with each other, for example, on technical aspects of earthquake detection and air quality.
“As long as we achieve a result that is beneficial to people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, we can sign an agreement,” Lin said.
Lin, who served as secretary-general of the Cabinet and then of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) before taking over as chairman of the SEF on Sept. 27, said he is to travel to China on Tuesday for a six-day trip.
He is scheduled to visit Beijing, Shanghai and Kunshan and is to also head to Wudang Mountain in Hubei Province to attend anniversary celebrations at the scenic spot.
He is expected to meet his counterpart — China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) — and China’s Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi (王毅).
Sources have said there is also the possibility that he could meet more senior officials.
“We need to extend our goodwill. Chen just visited Taiwan and we have to organize a team for a reciprocal visit and get to know each other,” Lin said.
He added that reciprocal visits by the SEF and ARATS are necessary.
“As the SEF head, it is impossible for me to visit the mainland just one time,” Lin said, adding that Taiwanese businesspeople operating in China have also expressed their hopes that he could visit the mainland on a frequent basis.
One issue covered recently during cross-strait talks, Lin said, was the exchange of representative offices in each other’s territory, an issue that President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) described in his National Day address as a priority.
Lin said China had shown goodwill on the issue.
“With ever closer exchanges, it is inevitable that we will move toward the direction of setting up a representative office,” he said.
Such a move, he said, would require that Taiwan amend a major law, the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area (台灣地區與大陸地區人民關係條例).
Lin said he believed cross-strait relations would move forward after China’s once-in-a-decade leadership transition that starts at the Communist Party’s 18th National Congress, which is scheduled to open on Nov. 8.
Questioned about a possible reshuffle of officials in charge of Taiwanese affairs under China’s new leadership, Lin said that whether they keep the present lineup of Taiwan affairs officials or make changes, “[China] will take into consideration the current win-win situation and cherish the good results we have achieved so far.”