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Oct 20, 2011 No. 074

  • Date:2011-10-20

 The Seventh Chiang-Chen Talks were held today (October 20, 2011) in Tianjin City, mainland China. During the meeting, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin jointly confirmed the text of the Cross-Strait Agreement on Nuclear Power Safety Cooperation. They also reached joint opinions on the results of phased negotiations for the Cross-Strait Investment Protection Agreement as well as on strengthening cross-strait industrial cooperation. During the talks today, the two sides also discussed the issues to be included in the next round of negotiations. In addition, they conducted a key review on the implementation status of agreements signed between the two sides. In sum, this round of the Chiang-Chen Talks was smooth and successful, representing a new page in the institutionalized negotiations between the SEF and the ARATS.

  In his opening address, Chairman Chiang stated that the 15 agreements signed and one consensus reached between the two sides over the past more than three years effectively address and resolve substantive issues in cross-strait exchanges. Moreover, they have brought into full play the functions of promoting and deepening cross-strait exchanges as well as developing a model for institutionalized cooperation across the Taiwan Strait, thereby laying a solid foundation for cross-strait mutual trust and benign interactions. Institutionalized negotiations and interactions over the past more than three years are the yardstick of cross-strait relations’ benign development and even the guarantee of regional peace and prosperity. Such results are invaluable and deserve to be maintained to the utmost.

  Chairman Chiang especially emphasized that, on the current foundation, the two sides should continue to build peaceful and stable cross-strait relations for the long term. Through the mature operation of institutionalized negotiations, they should also consolidate cross-strait mutual trust, promote cross-strait exchanges in economic, trade, cultural, and other spheres in a gradual, orderly manner, and establish an external environment beneficial to cross-strait development and development on each side. In order to achieve this objective, the two sides will need to work jointly to maintain and determine the overall conditions of lasting peace in cross-strait relations.

  Regarding the Cross-Strait Agreement on Nuclear Power Safety Cooperation signed at the latest talks, the SEF stated that the signing of this Agreement will enable the competent authorities for nuclear power safety on the two sides to establish a platform for experience sharing and exchange in normal times to preemptively prevent accidents from happening. In the event of an emergency, the two sides can also use the mechanisms established under this Agreement to report nuclear power plant accidents, effectively strengthening notifications and contacts, reducing the potential impact of accidents, and protecting the safety of life and property of people on both sides of the Strait. After signing this Agreement today, the two sides will also actively begin preparation work on its follow-up implementation, including promptly establishing a contact window, forming working groups, holding working conferences, and deciding on related implementation matters stipulated in the Agreement so that the pact can come into operation as soon as possible.

  During this round of talks, the two sides also reached joint opinions on the Cross-Strait Investment Protection Agreement and industrial cooperation issues. Regarding the Investment Protection Agreement, the two sides both believe this pact has major significance in promoting the development of institutionalized cross-strait economic and trade relations. They agreed to continue and accelerate the final stage of the negotiations and sign the Agreement at the next SEF-ARATS talks. As for industrial cooperation, the two sides reached a consensus on the prospects, objectives, and initial areas of cross-strait industrial cooperation. Based on the solid foundation established by the SEF and the ARATS, the two sides can raise the level of cross-strait industrial cooperation, deepen the benefits of cross-strait industrial cooperation, and usher in a new era of cross-strait industrial cooperation.

  On the negotiation issues for the eighth SEF-ARATS talks, the two sides agreed during the talks today to make the yet unconcluded Cross-Strait Investment Protection Agreement the focal issue for promotion at the eighth talks. Furthermore, in the future they will continue to focus on negotiations related to follow-up agreements to the Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA). They can sign agreements on any issues of consensus; for example, "customs cooperation" can be listed as a priority negotiation issue.

  During the talks today, the two sides, based on precedent, also explained the results and discussed the implementation status of several key agreements signed between the SEF and the ARATS. The Taiwan side mentioned that there remains room for improvement in terms of the insufficient number of tour organizing agencies in the Mainland and problems in the examination of certification for travelers taking cross-strait flights. There is also a need for further active coordinating efforts on liability and compensation in major food safety cases as well as the repatriation of major economic criminals. The Taiwan side will continue to negotiate with the Mainland side on improvements in these areas through established channels and platforms.

  During the talks, the two sides also jointly reviewed the results of phased negotiations on ECFA follow-up issues (including trade in goods, trade in services, dispute resolution, etc.). In the future, the two sides will also accelerate the pace of negotiations on ECFA follow-up agreements in the hope of reaching an early consensus so the agreements can be signed by the SEF and the ARATS. During the meeting today, the SEF and the ARATS also shared views regarding exchanges on operational affairs. The two sides hope to expand the coverage of exchanges and deepen the level of interactions based on the solid foundation established between them.

  The SEF and the ARATS also held an agreement signing ceremony this afternoon to complete the signing of the Cross-Strait Agreement on Nuclear Power Safety Cooperation. Chairman Chiang thanked the negotiation representatives for their hard work in making the Seventh Chiang-Chen Talks a success. He also expressed sincere gratitude to ARATS Chairman Chen and related colleagues for their excellent arrangements. The meeting came to a close today and the SEF negotiation delegation will return to Taipei tomorrow (October 21, 2011).