Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) yesterday called on Beijing to allow Chinese tourists to transit through Taiwan on their way to other destinations when he met Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Deming (陳德銘) in Shanghai for the ninth round of cross-strait talks.
Chinese tourists currently require a permit to fly to Taiwan, even though they may only want to transit at an airport.
Lin said a great number of Chinese tourists transited in other countries when heading to the US, and it would be easier for them to transit through Taiwan. Chen promised that the issue will be addressed later this year.
The foundation and the ARATS also agreed to join forces to solve water supply issues in Kinmen. Lin and Chen said that the relevant government agencies would cooperate to allow Kinmen to build aqueducts in Xiamen, China. These would carry water to Kinmen in a bid to address longstanding shortages.
In addressing the meeting, Lin said the signing of the cross-strait service trade agreement and the discussion of other cross-strait exchanges aimed to protect the rights of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
“It is the most crucial responsibility of the Straits Exchange Foundation and the ARATS to seek the biggest benefits for people on both sides. We will handle cross-strait affairs realistically and with patience,” he said.
Commenting on the cross-strait service trade agreement, Chen said China fully understood the differences in cross-strait economic scale and market capacities, and insisted that the agreement would benefit people in Taiwan.
Lin later said in concluding the ninth round of cross-strait talks that the foundation and the ARATS have agreed that the next round of talks will address six issues, including the establishment of representative offices on each side of the Taiwan Strait.
The other five issues are a goods trade agreement, dispute-solving mechanism, double taxation avoidance, cooperation on weather data and cooperation on the detection of earthquakes.
When asked to comment on the lawmakers’ demand for the right to humanitarian visits to be included in the establishment of representative offices across the Taiwan Strait, Lin said the foundation and the ARATS should reach a consensus on the issue during the next cross-strait negotiations.