The Fourth Chiang-Chen Talks

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Results of the fourth Chiang-Chen talks(Straits Exchange Foundation Press Release)

  • Date:2009-12-22

The fourth round of talks between Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and Chen Yunlin, chairman of mainland China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), yielded three agreements on agricultural product inspection and quarantine; cross-strait cooperation on industrial product standards, inspection and certification; as well as on fishing crew collaboration. The talks were held at Windsor Hotel Taichung on December 22, 2009.

The SEF pointed out that the achievements seen at this round of talks have further strengthened the model of institutionalized talks, made cross-strait exchanges more orderly, and safeguarded people’s rights.

In remarks delivered today, Chiang pointed out that cross-strait relations have undergone a crucial change since May of 2008. The resumption of talks between the SEF and ARATS not only has restored the institutionalized channel for negotiations and communication to normal operation, but also has opened a new era of confidence-building between Taipei and Beijing. The pacts sealed during the talks have helped normalize cross-strait exchanges and brought substantive benefits to the people of both sides. Furthermore, improving cross-strait ties have created new opportunities for peace, stability and prosperity, winning in the process the high approval of the general public in Taiwan, mainland China and the international community.

Participants started off by re-examining the results and progress of implementation of the nine agreements the two organizations have signed since last year. The SEF’s Chiang noted in particular that these agreements produced immediate and positive results in facilitating the movement of people across the Strait, increasing the effectiveness of cross-strait exchanges, and safeguarding the rights and interests of the people of both sides. Nevertheless, it was seen that improvement is still needed regarding implementation of the agreements in some respects. These include issues such as the discrepancy in the number of direct cross-strait flights currently allowed and actual market demand; handling the aftereffects of the melamine-tainted milk scandal; and the repatriation of Taiwan’s major economic criminals. When necessary, the two sides should continue negotiations on these issues through established channels and platforms.

Taipei and Beijing today discussed, confirmed the text of, and signed three agreements: the Cross-strait Agreement on Cooperation in Inspection and Quarantine of Agricultural Products; the Cross-strait Agreement on Cooperation in Respect of Standards, Metrology, Inspection and Accreditation; and the Cross-strait Agreement on Cooperation in Fishing Crew Affairs. Over the past few months, consensuses on these issues were reached thanks to constant communication and the harmonizing of opinions between the relevant authorities of both sides, which allowed for the signings today.

The signing of these agreements shows that the priority issues for cross-strait negotiations at present are those that can increase the well-being of the general public. This is consistent with Taiwan’s principle for promoting cross-strait relations—to handle economic, urgent, and easier issues first, and political, less urgent, and difficult issues later. The results of today’s talks will also enable cross-strait exchanges and interactions to move forward on the basis of a more solid institutional framework.

As to avoiding double taxation and improving cooperation on tax operations, the two sides shared that they have formed basic consensuses following a number of meetings held since October 2008. However, the responsible agencies of the two sides require more time to exchange opinions on the technical arrangements that especially affect these issues. The chairmen agreed to arrange for follow-up negotiations as soon as possible to allow for the signing of related agreements.

It was also agreed to make the economic cooperation framework agreement, or ECFA, a major focus of the next round of talks so as to systematize cross-strait economic relations. Also placed on the agenda for next time was intellectual property rights protection, so as to better protect the legal rights of IPR owners.

Frequent natural disasters cause heavy loss of life and property to people on both sides. The SEF and ARATS both believe that since Taiwan and the mainland have a great deal of experience in dealing with natural disasters, they should increase information sharing and exchanges so as to better respond to natural disasters. The two sides agreed that they should bolster cooperation in this area and encourage their specialized agencies to work through academic seminars, professional exchanges and short-term research programs as they serve as platforms for the exchange of information and experience. The two organizations further consented to promoting exchanges in various areas in 2010.

ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin shared that following an assessment, it had been decided that the Formosan serow and Sika deer given to the mainland by Taiwan would be kept at Weihai Forest Park in Shandong Province. SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung expressed his satisfaction with this arrangement and asked that the authorities concerned work out a plan to transfer the animals. Chen also proposed that the fifth round of talks be held in mainland China at an appropriate time during the first half of 2010, a suggestion to which Chiang agreed.

Both sides approached today’s meeting honestly and both sought pragmatic results. They reviewed the implementation of the nine agreements signed previously and discussed where improvements were needed in implementing them. Also stressed was the importance of the three agreements signed today in bringing order to cross-strait exchanges and strengthening the cross-strait economic relationship. Finally, the two organizations’ chairmen exchanged opinions and came to a consensus about topics to be negotiated at the next round of talks.

In sum, today’s talks have helped to determine the direction in which work will proceed and have further strengthened the institutionalized channel for interaction. They have also set the standard for how a stable cross-strait relationship may develop in peace.

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