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ARATS chief arrives in Taiwan on historic visit
3/11/2008 15:52


Chen Yunlin (R Center), president of the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), arrives at Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei of southeast China's Taiwan Province today. Chen Yunlin arrived in Taiwan today for a five-day trip. --Xinhua

The Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) chief Chen Yunlin arrived in Taipei today at the start of a five-day historic visit to Taiwan.

Chen's visit marks the first ever meeting between leaders of the ARATS and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Taiwan.

On Tuesday morning, Chen is expected to hold talks with SEF chairman Chiang Pin-kung, the second meeting between them in less than six months.

They are to discuss cross-strait direct shipping, air transport, postal services, food safety and tourism, Chen said in a written speech after landing at the Taoyuan International Airport.

The two organizations would also host seminars for experts to exchange views on financial cooperation to withstand the international financial crisis, he said.

Chen said he believed that to solve differences through consultations, to replace confrontation with cooperation, to promote interaction between ARATS and SEF and to seek win-win relations across the strait will gain the support of the majority of the Taiwan compatriots.

He said both the Chinese mainland and Taiwan are facing grim economic challenges given the financial crisis and slow-down in the growth of the world economy.

"It is imperative that the two sides join to help each other to cope," he said.

Chen also extended greetings to Taiwan people and expressed gratitude to those who made efforts to make the landmark visit possible.

He said the meeting would mark an important step in the development of cross-strait relations. "The step is not easy and is a crystallization of the joint efforts of many compatriots across the strait."

Chen said the compatriots across the strait are one family and their interests rely on the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

The ARATS will continue to work with the SEF with a positive and pragmatic attitude to seek common ground and satisfactory results through equal consultation, he said.

On Monday afternoon, Chen is scheduled to visit the widow of Koo Chen-fu, the former SEF chairman who passed away in 2005.

The official talks between leaders of the ARATS and SEF will beheld on Tuesday morning. The two organizations will sign agreements in the afternoon and hold press conferences, according to the schedule.

Founded in 1991 and 1990 respectively, the ARATS and SEF are authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-strait civilian exchanges. Negotiations were suspended for almost 10 years until June, when Chen and Chiang held their first meeting in Beijing.