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ARATS chief Chen Yunlin leaves for Taiwan
3/11/2008 9:38

A delegation led by Chen Yunlin, president of the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), left Beijing for Taipei at around 7:30am today, starting his five-day visit to Taiwan.

"The visit of ARATS chief to Taiwan is of historical significance and is a key step marking the development of cross-strait relations," State Council Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi said after seeing Chen off at the airport.

Wang said cross-strait relations were embarking on the track of peaceful development and started to show positive momentum. "We should cherish, maintain and develop the hard-earned situation."

Chen told reporters earlier that he would meet with Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman Chiang Pin-kung during the visit, which will focus on economic issues.

Chen's Taiwan visit marks the second meeting between leaders of the ARATS and SEF, two organizations entrusted by the authorities to negotiate cross-strait affairs, in the past 10 years. The first, attended by Chiang Pin-kung, was held in Beijing in June.