Strait talks continue
A SENIOR Chinese negotiator put aside Beijing's anger over Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui's upcoming visit to the United States and called for the two sides to broaden their points of agreement.
Eight mainland officials and five journalists, led by Tang Shubei, vice-chairman of Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), arrived in Taipei yesterday afternoon for two days of talks.
Mr Tang will meet a delegation led by Chiao Jen-ho, vice-chairman of Taipei's Strait Exchange Foundation (SEF), to discuss preparations for the second meeting between the SEF chairman, C. F. Koo, and the ARATS chairman, Wang Daohan, scheduled for July.
Mr Tang said the first set of preparatory talks 'will discuss the timing, procedures and topics for the Wang-Koo dialogue'.
'This is the urgent task of the moment,' he said.
Mr Tang indicated that the preparatory talks would not be disturbed by the row over Washington's decision to allow Mr Lee to visit his alma mater, Cornell University, in early June, or by resentment in Taiwan over China's role in denying it the right to host the 2002 Asian Games in Kaohsiung.
'We also have some differences with Taiwan, but we are authorised to promote the smooth convention of Wang-Koo talks,' Mr Tang said.
'Our task is to promote the convention of the second Wang-Koo talks and broaden our common points and common interests.' 'The points of differences cannot be resolved at the level of the SEF and ARATS, and we hope that senior cross-strait leaders can meet and have talks on those issues.
'We have some things to be discussed regarding the private investment guarantee agreement for Taiwan business, protection for cross-strait intellectual property, and concrete issues of concern to Taiwan regarding Hong Kong after 1997.' The Chinese diplomat indicated that Beijing was willing to put on the Wang-Koo agenda issues relating to the 1997 transfer of Hong Kong.
Mr Tang said he was not empowered to discuss whether the topic of a cross-strait agreement to end hostilities should be discussed at the second Wang-Koo meeting.
He said he 'will report to Mr Wang if the SEF raises this issue'.
Mr Tang also expressed satisfaction over the fact that two experts from Taipei's official Mainland Affairs Council would join the meetings.