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May 29, 2017

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Beijing reiterates peaceful ties: SEF chief

Beijing has reiterated its claim to taking a peaceful approach to cross-strait relations despite the upcoming leadership change, Taipei's top envoy handling China ties has told a local newspaper.

Lin Join-sane, chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), said that in a recent meeting Chinese leader Jia Qinglin assured him Beijing's policy for peaceful development across the Strait will remain unchanged after the Communist Party's upcoming national congress, according to the report.

The party is set to see a major transfer of power at the congress, which opens in early November, raising concern that it may come with a change in China's cross-strait policy.

Lin revealed he has also told Chinese leaders that neither will President Ma Ying-jeou diverge from peaceful cross-strait policy, which has won support from the people, the United Evening News reported.

Lin, who took over the SEF helm last month after a major reshuffle to the Ma administration's team for cross-strait affairs, quickly went on a visit to China in mid-October in what he called a demonstration of his proactive attitude.

During his visit, the Beijing side raised concern over possible policy changes coming with the personnel reshuffle in Taiwan's China affairs team, Lin disclosed.

"There is no chance that we may slow our pace," Lin was cited by the newspaper as telling his Chinese hosts during the meetings.

Ma clearly indicated in his National Day address that Taiwan is seeking to strengthen cross-strait ties, with Taiwan and China setting up offices on the other's side, Lin noted.

Saying he will definitely visit China again by the end of this year, Lin said that he already conveyed Ma's intention about establishing offices during his last trip.

The Beijing side accepted the idea of having representative offices on both sides of the Strait, and both sides have reached a consensus to draw up the plan as soon as possible, Lin said.

Task forces will be set up for the office plan and once a conclusion is reached an agreement may be signed, the SEF chief added.

But the setting up of offices will start with the SEF and its China counterpart — the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait — opening their offices on the other side first, before any other kinds of office will be set up, Lin said.

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