High-level Taiwan-China talks set for November

Other News Materials 23 October 2008 16:12 (UTC +04:00)

Taiwan said Thursday it has set November 3 as the date for it and China to begin a second round of high-level talks in Taipei, despite a recent attack on a Chinese envoy by pro-independence activists during his Taiwan visit, reproted dpa.

"After a series of discussions between our two sides, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) has strongly suggested that the meeting held on November 3" in Taipei, said Lai Shin-yuan, chairwoman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

She said officials of the SEF, which represents Taiwan in talking with China in the absence of formal ties, will hold a preparatory round of talk with his Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), on Monday.

The preparatory round will be held in the Chinese border city of Shenchen, where the two sides will finalise the timetable, schedules and other details of the talks.

"Agenda to be discussed in the next round of talks include cutting short of flight routes, expansion of weekend charter flights, cargo charters, direct shipping and postal service, as well as food safety cooperation," she said.

Lai vowed to adopt top-level security measures to ensure the "absolute safety" of ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin, China's top negotiator with Taiwan, during his Taiwan visit.

Chen is expected to lead a delegation in the talks after the historic June round in Beijing, during which the two sides signed deals for weekend charter flights and tourism cooperation.

His planned visit, originally set to be held next week, was marred by Tuesday's attack of Chen's deputy, Zhang Mingqing.

Zhang, the ARATS vice chairman, was pushed to the ground and beaten in the head by a group of pro-independence activists on Tuesday during his visit to a temple in the southern city of Tainan, the bastion of pro-independence supporters.

Zhang, who came to Taiwan on Sunday for an academic visit in his capacity as dean of the Xiamen University's School of Journalism and Communications, has been a controversial figure in Taiwan over his previous remarks warning Taiwan against splitting from China.

Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still considers Taiwan an integral part of the mainland.