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September 25, 2017

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ARATS head hopes to return soon: SEF

The Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) president has expressed hope of visiting Taiwan again in the near future, a Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) official said Friday.

SEF spokesman Ma Shaw-chang (馬紹章) said Chen Yunlin (陳雲林) mentioned his wish during a high-level meeting a day earlier with his Taiwanese counterpart, SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung, during which two important cross-strait agreements were signed.

"Chen said he would like to visit Taiwan again, but there is no exact time or itinerary," Ma said.

Chen had been planning to visit Hualien in Eastern Taiwan — a major destination for tourists from China — during his just-concluded visit, but was prevented from doing so by the threat of an approaching typhoon.

According to media speculation, the timing for such a trip could be around September, as it is possible Chen will be transferred to another post following the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, scheduled for shortly after that time, when China will undergo a once-in-a-decade leadership transition.

He could also lead a cultural delegation to learn about Taiwan's art and creative industry, as ARATS in June set up a center devoted to cross-strait exchanges of calligraphy and paintings.

Chen, who concluded a three-day trip to Taiwan and returned to China Friday, sealed an investment protection pact and a customs cooperation agreement with Chiang.

Government officials said the move could remove more trade barriers between the two sides, with the much-anticipated investment pact touted as securing the rights of Taiwanese businessmen who invest in China.

Investment Protection Pact Dangerous, Not Democratic: DPP

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairman Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) yesterday panned the cross-strait investment protection pact as "not safe" and the process as not democratic.

According to Su, the pact only protects businesses from mainland China while offering little or no such thing for Taiwanese businesses. Su added that the pact does not protect the personal safety of Taiwanese businesspeople and the economy of Taiwan.

Su said the decision-making process behind the pact went against the spirit of democracy by not being transparent and open to the public.

Kuomintang spokeswoman Ma Wei-kuo (馬瑋國) responded that the agreement made a significant breakthrough concerning the protection of personal safety.

According to the agreement, when a Taiwanese businessperson in the mainland is arrested, the Chinese government will inform his or her family within 24 hours, a time limit shorter than those stipulated in other international conventions.

Visiting China Possible under Right Conditions: Tsai Ing-wen

Former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said yesterday that visiting China is an option under the right conditions.

She said the goal of such a visit would have to be clear, and the trip would need to be beneficial to both sides.

Tsai cautioned that Taiwan should ensure its market can sustain the ensuing challenges posed by increased economic ties with China.

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