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MAC, SEF heads report on cross-strait talks

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Mainland Affairs Council Minister Wang Yu-chi (王郁琦) and Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Lin Join-sane (林中森) gave a report yesterday on the recently concluded 10th round of high-level talks between the SEF and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) at the Legislature.

The report was intended for Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-pyng (王金平) and both the ruling party and opposition caucuses. Ranking lawmakers of the Democratic Progressive Party, however, were absent from the meeting.

According to the SEF report, the next round of cross-strait talks will focus on the issues of trade in goods and dispute resolution, and will also cover issues such as avoidance of double taxation, the establishment of representative offices, cooperation on environmental protection, aviation safety and others.

Taiwan Solidarity Union caucus convener Lai Zhen-chang (賴振昌) said after the meeting that the recently signed cross-strait agreements on meteorological exchanges and earthquake monitoring were apparently signed just for the sake of being signed, given that Taiwan has an advantage over mainland China in terms of monitoring technology.

Lai said that the agreements were not significant, and that they will not necessarily benefit Taiwan.

The lawmaker added that the SEF report did not touch upon the details of the topics to be discussed in the next round of SEF-ARATS talks, but that all of the topics mentioned are highly sensitive.

Kuomintang lawmaker Lin Hung-chih (林鴻池), who also doubles as chief executive of the ruling party's Policy Committee, said that the report did not touch upon progress made over the trade in goods pact, but that if there are further developments, the executive will report to the Legislative Yuan and accept oversight.

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