Taiwan’s new top negotiator plans first China visit
Agence France-Presse in Taipei
Taiwan’s new top China negotiator plans to visit the mainland soon, his first trip there since he took over the job, to discuss swapping representative offices, officials and media reports said on Friday.
Lin Join-sane, who took over as chairman of the semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation last month, is scheduled to visit China as early as next week and meet with top Chinese officials, said the Commercial Times in Taipei.
The main purpose of Lin’s trip is to deliver a message from President Ma Ying-jeou on swapping representative offices with Beijing, the paper cited unnamed sources as saying.
A spokesman for the foundation, which handles relations in the absence of formal ties, confirmed that Lin planned to visit China “very soon” but declined to go into details.
Ties with China have improved markedly since Ma assumed the presidency of Taiwan four years ago on a Beijing-friendly platform.
Since then, Lin’s predecessor Chiang Pin-kung and his Chinese counterpart Chen Yunlin have conducted eight rounds of high-level talks and signed a total of 18 agreements to boost trade and civil exchanges.
Despite the warming of ties, Beijing still claims the island as part of its territory awaiting unification, by force if necessary, even though the two sides have ruled separately since they split in 1949 after a civil war.