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July 27, 2017

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Chiang to sign 4 agreements with Chen Yunlin

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Four agreements will be signed when P.K. Chiang, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), meets with his Chinese counterpart Chen Yunlin in Taipei.

Chen, chairman of the Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), is expected to arrive in Taipei on November 3 for talks with Chiang, SEF vice chairman Kao Koong-lian said yesterday.

Chiang and Chen will sign agreements on chartered cargo flights, direct maritime shipping, direct postal service, and cooperation in ensuring food safety, said Kao, who doubles as SEF secretary general.

Kao is scheduled to go to Shenchun near Guangzhou on Monday to finalize Chen Yunlin's itinerary in Taipei.

He is expected to talk with Zhang Mingqing, his ARATS opposite number who was mobbed in Tainan on Tuesday during a lecture tour of Taiwan.

But Kao expected no problem to get the ARATS to agree to the agenda of the Chiang-Chen meetings in Taipei. "I don't think they will raise any question about the proposed signing of the four agreements," he said.

While in Taipei, Chen Yunlin is likely to be received by President Ma Ying-jeou.

When they meet, Ma told the official Central News Agency, Chen will address him as "President Ma."

Ma said that he and Chen "certainly will meet face-to-face," and that the issue of how both sides will address each other will be handled according to the principles of "reciprocity and dignity."

The president said that Chen's visit to Taiwan provides an important symbolism of reciprocity and dignity, meaning that although both sides of the Taiwan Strait do not recognize each other at this stage, they can at least refrain from denying each other.

"Both sides can use pragmatic and flexible ways to resolve our differences," Ma said. "There is no need to create difficulties in certain areas to obstruct the badly needed exchanges between the two sides."

Citing an example, Ma said when the Red Cross societies of Taiwan and China were about to sign the Kinmen Agreement in 1990 to repatriate fugitives, criminals and illegal migrants from each other's side, the two sides could not agree on whether to use the ROC or Western calendar.

The issue was finally resolved after both sides agreed to write down only the month and date while leaving the space for the year blank.

Another example, according to Ma, was that the direct weekend charter flights between Taiwan and China began in July after both sides agreed to define the air routes they served as "special routes," defusing the dispute as to whether they were domestic or international air routes.

Ma pointed out that the results of all local opinion surveys showed that the people are supportive of Chen's visit to Taiwan.

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