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ARATS to plan trips to Taiwan after the end of student protests

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS, 海協會) will be planning several trips to Taiwan as the communication between China and Taiwan has gradually picked up again as the recent student movements have anded, local media report.

Tour groups from mainland China had reportedly stopped coming to Taiwan since the student movement that occupied the Legislative Yuan started in March. The tours did not resume until recently, after the movement had ended for a little over a month.

The visiting ARATS groups will only be coming for basic tours as opposed to tours with official cross-strait negotiations as goal, as ARATS President Chen De-ming (陳德明) will not be leading the groups, said local media. Chen had previously stated that he would be visiting Taiwan “very soon,” but the Chen reportedly had not mapped out said plans yet.

Since Chinese tour groups started visiting Taiwan, approximately three to four citizen groups visit Taiwan on average each month, but all tours slated to leave China in March and April were postponed due to the student protests against a cross-strait trade pact.

Tour groups from Guizhou, Anhui, Shanghai, Hubei, Jilin, Hainan and Jiangsu Provinces will be visiting Taiwan in May.

Aside from the seven citizen tour groups, Chou Chih-huai (周志懷), the head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Taiwan Studies, visited Taiwan recently for several large forums.

Along with several Chinese think tank members, Chou also met with several politicians in Taiwan in hopes of understanding different opinions regarding the cross-strait relationship.

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