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Top China negotiator sees more exchanges

BEIJING--Taiwan will continue to expand its exchanges with China in a wide range of areas, including culture, Taiwan's chief negotiator with China, Lin Join-sane, said in Beijing yesterday.

Making the remarks during a visit to Beijing's Palace Museum, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman said his trip is part of the government's efforts to deepen cultural exchanges with China.

Lin is on his first-ever visit to China. He will also go to Tianjin, Shanghai and Kunshan.

He met with his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) President Chen Yunlin on Tuesday. He was also scheduled to meet other Chinese officials, including Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, and Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the People's Political Consultative Conference.

At a regular news briefing held Wednesday, Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Yang Yi said Beijing hopes to open negotiations with Taipei on issues related to the exchange of representative offices soon.

Yang said that it is “very necessary” for ARATS and the SEF — the organizations authorized by their respective governments to deal with cross-strait affairs — to set up offices in each other's territories.

This will allow the two agencies to provide more convenient and rapid services to people on either side of the strait, he said.

On a proposal by Taiwan's Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai for a cross-strait cultural agreement and the possibility of Lung visiting China, Yang said Beijing is open to such an agreement and welcomes Lung's visit “in an appropriate capacity.”

Asked whether China will continue its existing policy toward Taiwan after China's leadership transition next month, Yang said Beijing will continue to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait relations by strengthening cross-strait exchanges and cooperation and furthering negotiations with Taiwan.

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