Cross-Straits negotiations resume after 18 months

Updated: 2015-08-26 07:45

By He Na and Hu Meidong in Fuzhou(China Daily)

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Talks resumed between leaders of the negotiating bodies from the Chinese mainland and Taiwan on Tuesday after the longest interval in the ongoing negotiations.

Chen Deming, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and Lin Join-sane, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation, last met 18 months ago in Taiwan.

The two sides signed agreements on aviation safety and avoidance of dual taxation in Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province, on Tuesday.

The agenda for the latest meeting, the 11th round of the discussions, also included discussions on making it easier for mainlanders to travel overseas via Taiwan and topics for the next round of talks.

"Implementing the aviation safety agreement will help cross-Straits airlines to establish aviation standards and a supervisory mechanism," Chen said. "It will help reduce the running costs of airlines and deepen cooperation in the civil aviation industry across the Straits."

Lin said that because of aviation differences between the mainland and Taiwan, airlines must have their own personnel to perform maintenance work and safety checks.

"However, under the agreement, the two sides will cooperate in many respects, including information exchanges, supervisory mechanisms and mutual recognition of professional skills. This will help reduce airlines' running costs and improve aviation safety," he said.

The mainland and Taiwan have long followed their own tax laws to collect levies from enterprises and the public, resulting in dual taxation problems.

"Agreement on avoiding dual taxation will not only help reduce the tax burden for businesspeople and the public, but also promote direct cross-Straits investment and help improve the investment environment and raise enterprises' competitive ability on each side," said Zheng Lizhong, vice-president of the association.

A poll conducted by Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Committee found that 54.2 percent of Taiwan residents support the signing of a taxation agreement, while 79.2 percent of residents back the aviation safety agreement.

The two sides also carried out several rounds of negotiations and reached some agreements on mainlanders traveling overseas via Taiwan.

"We understand that the mainland needs time to adjust related laws and regulations, and we hope the agreement can be signed before the end of the year," Lin said.

Zhang Zhijun, head of the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office, met Lin and his delegation on Tuesday afternoon and exchanged views on a wide range of cross-Straits issues.

Chen assessed the outcome of previous talks and the 21 agreements signed on promoting welfare for people across the Straits since the talks resumed in June 2008.

"The implementation of previous agreements has deepened mutual understanding and trust and convenient exchanges of people across the straits," he said.

But Chen also said that the problems that the two sides need to negotiate and solve have increased and become more complicated.

"Cross-Straits relations have experienced slight turbulence in the past year, but our determination to promote peaceful, stable and prosperous cross-Straits ties has not changed," Lin said.

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