A delegation from the Taiwanese media met with Taiwan Affairs Office Director Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) during a visit to Beijing yesterday.
During the meeting, Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森), who led the delegation, touted the role of the news media in maintaining peace across the Taiwan Strait.
Lin said that Taiwan is a free and democratic society that respects the rule of law and human rights, where many voices are faithfully conveyed via the media to help the government implement the right policies.
The reporting of opinions also helps people make wise choices, he said, adding that it is through such reporting that people have chosen peace over confrontation in cross-strait relations.
With cross-strait exchanges increasing, more than 10 Taiwanese news organizations have posted correspondents in China, while a similar number of Chinese news organizations have posted representatives in Taiwan, he said.
Lin said that from Aug. 1, one-year multiple-entry visas have been issued to Chinese journalists posted in Taiwan.
Agreeing with Lin, Zhang said the media has been moving ahead of cross-strait ties, playing the important role of a harbinger and contributing greatly to the thawing of cross-strait tensions.
However, Zhang admitted that there is still considerable room for cooperation between media on each side to resolve the remaining problems facing cross-strait relations. He also expressed concern that the controversy in Taiwan over the recently signed cross-strait service trade agreement may affect negotiations on an agreement on trade in goods.
In response, Lin said Taiwan is a pluralistic society in which people tend to have various opinions on issues. It is therefore necessary to seek consensus through communication, he said.
During the meeting, Central News Agency president Fan Hsiang-lin (樊祥麟) said cross-strait journalist exchanges are still lagging behind exchanges in other areas. He urged Beijing to allow longer stays and visa-on-arrival treatment for Taiwanese correspondents posted to China.
The delegation, which arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, also plans to visit Jinzhou, Shenyang and Dalian, before returning to Taiwan on Sunday.