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Talks with China to continue as agreed: ARATS

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Chen Deming (陳德銘), the head of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (海協會, ARATS), said yesterday that talks on the Cross-Strait Trade in Goods Agreement will continue as scheduled.

Chen attended an exhibition that featured Taiwan's products in Tianjin, China. Chen said in his opening address that Taiwan and China will collaborate more closely "in systems" in the future, and exchange and cooperation between the two sides will become more intensified.

China's head of the Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) recently paid a visit to Taiwan. This also laid a good foundation for more exchanges across the strait, Chen said, adding that he plans to return to Taiwan in the latter half of 2014.

Chen visited Taiwan in November last year. During the eight days of his stay, he toured Taipei, Taoyuan, New Taipei City, Pingtung, Kaohsiung, Tainan, Chiayi, Taichung and Hsinchu. He also visited Taiwan's Free Economic Pilot Zones and attended conferences and talks with Taiwan and China-based companies.

He visited Taiwan again in February and met with Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦), the Minister of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), the ARATS's counterpart in Taiwan. Chen inked an agreement for cross-strait cooperation on issues related to earthquakes and weather.

Bilateral Visit a Historic Milestone: Premier Jiang

A services in trade agreement provoked much opposition in Taiwan. It incited a student-led protest that paralyzed the Legislature several months ago.

Chen appeared undeterred. In his remark, Chen said that talks on the goods trade agreement with Taiwan is still ongoing and will continue as scheduled.

Chen indicated that bilateral visits between Taiwan and China will become more common in the future. The ARATS aims to further promote economic and cultural exchanges across the strait, especially exchanges on the level of small- and medium-sized companies, populations in the middle and lower social classes as well as youth groups, he said.

In regard to TAO head Zhang Zhijun's recent visit to Taiwan, Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said that competent authorities including the MAC, the National Police Agency and local governments all did their best to coordinate Zhang's trip in Taiwan. Jiang stressed that it was the first time Taiwan and China's heads of cross-strait affairs paid a visit to each other. This is a historic milestone, and is a critical step toward peace development with mainland China, he said.

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