[photopress:hotels_Ma_Ying_jeou.jpg,full,alignright]The mainland and Taiwan are holding talks paving the way for regular weekend charter flights and tourism.
Meeting will be, for the mainland, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) — the main channel for talks with the island — with its Taiwan counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), which said it accepted the proposal for the meeting ‘with willingness’ which is pretty encouraging.
The two issues on the agenda have been discussed by related trade organizations many times and some consensus has been reached and it is possible that cross-Straits weekend charter flights will allow mainland tourists to visit Taiwan in the near future. It is quite possible that some sort of an agreement might be signed before the end of the week.
Ma Ying-jeou of KMT (seen in our illustration in victorious mode), who was recently sworn in as the island’s leader, has proposed starting regular direct charter flights across the Straits as early as July, and letting as many as 3,000 mainland tourists visit the island daily.
The rushed schedule for the resumption of dialogue was specifically established to help Ma fulfill his campaign promises that nonstop cross-strait charters on weekends and the arrival of more Chinese tourists in Taiwan would begin by July 4.
Yang Kai-huang, a professor at Ming Chuan University’s Department and Graduate School of Public Affairs, contended that Beijing would seize the historic opportunity presented by the next four years (with the KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwanese president) and actively improve ties with Taiwan.
The key premises allowing Taiwan and the mainland to return to the negotiating table are Ma Ying-jeou’s declaration of not pursuing Taiwan’s de jure independence from the mainland and accepting the so-called ‘1992 Consensus’.
Sources: China Daily and Asia Times and Taiwan News