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ARATS chief to arrive today for planned cross-strait agreements

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), Chen Deming (陳德銘), is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan today for the 10th round of high-level Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF)-ARATS talks.

Chen is also expected to visit the National Palace Museum and to see the popular giant panda cub Yuan Zai at Taipei Zoo.

The SEF-ARATS meeting is scheduled to take place on Thursday, while Chen and other ARATS delegation members are to arrive in Taiwan today at noon. The delegation is slated to depart for mainland China on Friday.

Accompanied by SEF Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森), Chen will visit the National Palace Museum. Meanwhile, preparatory talks hosted by SEF Vice Chairman Chang Hsien-yao (張顯耀), who also doubles as deputy chief of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), and ARATS Vice President Zheng Lizhong (鄭立中) will begin at the Grand Hotel. A welcoming banquet will be held at the hotel later that night for Chen and his colleagues.

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. on Thursday at the Grand Hotel, and in the afternoon the two sides are expected to sign agreements on meteorological exchanges and earthquake monitoring. Afterward, the SEF and ARATS will host separate press conferences. Later that night, ARATS will in turn host a banquet at the Grand Hotel for SEF members.

MAC Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) is expected to meet the ARATS delegation after the signing ceremony. This will be the first time for Wang and Chen to meet. The location of the meeting has yet to be confirmed.

Chen will visit Taipei Zoo on Friday morning and see the two giant pandas that mainland China gave to Taiwan, Tuan Tuan and Yuan Yuan, as well as their cub. He is expected to leave Taiwan at approximately noon on the same day.

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