Taiwan's Lin Join-sane named as top negotiator with mainland

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 September, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 September, 2012, 4:13am

Taiwan named Lin Join-sane as its top negotiator with China, replacing Chiang Pin-kung, who oversaw the signing of 18 agreements as cross-strait relations reached their warmest in more than six decades.

Lin was elected chairman of the Straits Exchange Foundation yesterday, Timothy Hwang, a spokesman at the foundation, said by phone. Chiang resigned last week, citing his age and health. The 79-year-old Chiang had led the foundation, a semi-official body responsible for handling relations with China, since May 2008 when President Ma Ying-jeou took office.

Tensions between China and Taiwan eased after Ma dropped the pro-independence stance of his predecessor and focused on strengthening economic relations. Cross-strait discussions resumed in 2008 after a nine-year halt sparked by former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui's description of the talks as "state-to- state", a term rejected by the mainland government.

Beijing claims Taiwan as a province and has vowed to reunite the island with the mainland by force if necessary. The two sides have been ruled separately since 1949, when the Kuomintang government fled to the island following its defeat by the Communists in the Chinese civil war.

Chiang has actively boosted cross-strait relations, Fan Liqing, a spokeswoman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said at a weekly briefing in Beijing yesterday.

Chiang helmed eight cross-straits talks that led to the signing of 18 agreements, including the resumption of direct flights, shipping and postal services. Taiwan signed its first trade pact with the mainland in June 2010.

Before serving as the ruling Kuomintang party's secretary general in February, Lin held government posts including secretary general to President Ma and cabinet secretary general.