Taiwan: Envoy Arrives in China
Taiwan's top envoy to China arrived here Saturday [25 April 2009] for a new round of talks aimed at cementing close economic ties and advancing political cooperation between the former rivals.
Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation, and his 22-member delegation were warmly welcomed after arriving at east China's Nanjing airport in a ceremony carried by state television.
A vice chairman of the foundation immediately began talks with his counterpart from China's semi-official Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits to prepare for Sunday's [26 April 2009] formal meeting, the report said.
On Sunday [26 April 2009] the two sides are expected to discuss financial cooperation, increasing cross-Strait flights and crime-fighting.
The meeting aims to build on talks held in Beijing in June last year , the first direct dialogue between the two sides after a 10-year gap.
That led to agreements launching the first-ever regular direct flights across the Taiwan Strait and boosting tourism, in a significant step for both sides.
"Compatriots from both sides of the straits have felt the benefits and convenience brought by the implementation of the agreements," Xinhua news agency cited Chiang's mainland counterpart, Chen Yunlin, as saying.
The agreements "were signed based on the principle of applying a practical and gradual approach to cross-straits relations -- economy before politics and easy problems before difficult ones," Chen added.
Ties between China and Taiwan, which split in 1949 after a civil war, have warmed considerably since president Ma Ying-jeou came to power in May .
The pro-Taiwan independence stance of his predecessor Chen Shui-bian, ensured rocky cross-strait ties during his eight years in office, which ended in 2008.
"The cross-Strait ties, and even the triangle Taiwan-China-United States ties have been improving to their best-ever levels in six decades," Ma said in a Friday [24 April 2009] statement.
China views Taiwan as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.
The 22-member delegation will also visit Taiwanese-invested businesses in China before wrapping up their trip on April 29 .