Early resumption of talks sought
By DENNIS ENGBARTH in Taipei
CHINA and Taiwan want an early resumption to talks despite the failure to reach any agreements after non-official discussions last week in Beijing.
The talks between delegations led by Chiao Jen-ho, secretary-general of Taipei's semi-official Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF), and Tang Shubei, secretary-general of Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), ended on Friday.
Despite early progress on long-awaited accords on repatriating cross-strait hijackers and returning illegal immigrants, the talks bogged down over cross-strait fishing disputes.
The three topics have dominated three meetings between Mr Chiao and Mr Tang and seven working group talks between the SEF and ARATS since the historic Singapore meeting between SEF chairman C. F. Koo and his ARATS counterpart Wang Daohan in April 1993.
In a statement released yesterday in Beijing, Mr Chiao said the talks on the three accords 'had gained considerable progress' but expressed regret that none were signed 'as time was limited and some partial differences remained'.
Mr Tang said yesterday the next round of working-level talks could be held earlier than the usual three-month gap to secure the accords and 'to create favourable conditions' for a second meeting between Mr Koo and Mr Wang.
In Taipei, President Lee Teng-hui, the chairman of the ruling Kuomintang, said: 'Negotiations cannot succeed at once, and for the real benefit of the country and people, 100 meetings should be held.
'If they succeed once in 100 times, that's fine. The most important thing is to talk, talk for 100 years if need be.' In a meeting with Mr Chiao in Shanghai yesterday, Mr Wang expressed similar sentiments, saying the lack of agreements reached in Beijing should not influence the convention of a second Wang-Koo dialogue.
'Depending on Mr Koo, we're ready to meet at any time,' Mr Wang told Mr Chiao.
Vincent Siew, chairman of Taipei's official Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), said that no planning had begun on a second Koo-Wang dialogue.
Mr Siew said the MAC, which co-ordinates Taipei's China policy, needs to evaluate the results of the Beijing talks.
MAC chairman Kao Koong-lien said that 'although private sector interchange has grown daily in the past seven years, development of mutual understanding was limited'.
'Given 40 years of separation, there is a large gap between the systems and ways of life and communicating any concepts, not to mention negotiation and signing agreements.