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Majority of the Public Support Preliminary Results Acquired through the Government's Handling of the Mainland's M503 and Other Routes’ Establishment, Believe the Executive Yuan’s Cross-Strait Agreement Supervisory Act Version Beneficial to Improving Congressional Oversight, Openness and Transparency, and Hope for Legislation to be Completed as Soon as Possible

  • Date:2015-03-23

March 23, 2015
MAC News Release No. 018

The Third Meeting between Heads of Cross-Strait Competent Authorities was held today (May 23, 2015) in Kinmen County. During the meeting, Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Andrew Hsia and Director Zhang Zhijun of the Mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) exchanged views on the current development of cross-strait relations and other important issues. Both sides reiterated their unchanged determination and faith in promoting peaceful and stable cross-strait developments. Minister Hsia stressed that the two sides should cherish achievements brought by cross-strait peace and prosperity over the past seven years and should continue, on the basis of the "1992 Consensus," to address realities and shelve disputes, steadily advance cross-strait relations, and create more palpable achievements for the people. 

Minister Hsia said that, during the period when war clouds hung over the Taiwan Strait,  Kinmen was positioned as the frontline of cross-strait military confrontation, hence bearing great significance in terms of the current status and reality of separate governance across the Strait. The holding of the current Meeting between Heads of Cross-Strait Competent Authorities in Kinmen proves and gives prominence to the past seven years of major shift across the Strait as an epitome of the past six decades, during which the two sides moved from confrontation to reconciliation, cooperation, and finally towards realizing peace. The MAC stressed that the handling of major issues and setting of future development directions across the Strait exists in “a turn of mind”, whereby both sides should adopt more positive thinking. Sensitive and pressing issues for both sides should be dealt with the utmost patience, sincerity and wisdom; also, communication across the Strait must be strengthened so as to gradually seek resolutions for differences, and thus deepen and consolidate hard-won fruits of peace achieved over the past seven years.

During the Third Meeting between Heads of Cross-Strait Competent Authorities, the two sides exchanged views on subjects of concern and reached the following conclusions:
    Regarding institutionalized cross-strait negotiations, the two sides will continue to push forward operational consultations for SEF-ARATS institutionalized negotiation agenda issues in hope to facilitate the holding of the Eleventh Round of High-Level Talks. Regarding follow-up agreements to the ECFA, Minister Hsia suggested for cross-strait competent authorities on both sides to provide sideline assistance to facilitate the prompt holding of the eleventh round of operational consultations for the Cross-Strait Trade in Goods Agreement. The two sides agreed to continue active promotion of cross-strait trade in goods negotiations and to coordinate respective relevant departments to promptly reach a consensus. In order to accelerate the progress of the trade in goods negotiation, Minister Hsia proposed at the meeting for the TAO to assist coordination among related departments in the Mainland to promptly show goodwill on the conditions imposed in areas of concern to Taiwan, including the four major industries (display panel, petrochemical, machine tool, and automotive), small and medium enterprises, traditional industries and agricultural products.  Director Zhang said that in the process of advancing normalized, institutionalized, and liberalized cross-strait economic relations, the Mainland is willing to take the lead in opening up to Taiwan and will open up to Taiwan with greater intensity and depth.
    On the issue of reciprocal establishment of SEF-ARATS institutions, both sides will promptly convene the eighth round of operational consultations after this meeting to pragmatically handle issues of mutual concern and promptly complete negotiations on the mutual establishment issue. Both sides understand that the safety of the institutions and their staff must be guaranteed, relevant competent authorities must be coordinated to complete respective internal legal operations and supporting measures for notifications and humanitarian visiting functions, and that the aim of the institutions’establishment is to serve the people on both sides.
    On the issue of Mainland tourist transits in Taiwan, the two sides will work together to facilitate a consensus in the first half of this year, actively coordinate relevant departments to promptly implement the policy, and will consult on further convenience measures for people’s exchanges across the Strait. Moreover, the two parties also reviewed the implementation status of the M503 route at the meeting.
    Regarding the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) issue, Minister Hsia indicated at the meeting that "dignified and equal" participation in the AIIB is the ROC’s policy stance and principle; the future promotion and observation indicators will be based on whether or not the AIIB charter corresponds to ROC interests. The Mainland again welcomed Taiwan to participate in the AIIB.
    On issues related to Kinmen, the two sides agreed to promptly sign a commercial contract for the diversion of water from the Mainland to Kinmen and begin operations as soon as possible. The relevant law enforcement authorities on both sides will continue, through the liaison mechanism and enforcement platform of the Agreement on Joint Cross-Strait Crime-Fighting and Mutual Judicial Assistance, to strengthen advocacy and jointly crackdown on and investigate illegal mining of sea sand and illegal fishing and other circumstances in the Kinmen and Xiamen sea areas. The two sides also agreed to discuss effective implementation solutions to jointly fight illegal sand dredging and maintain cross-strait fishery order. In addition, both sides placed high importance on customs clearance problems for goods exported from the Kinmen and Matsu areas to the Mainland. They will actively improve customs clearance facilitation measures under the Mini Three Links so as to safeguard the rights and interests of legitimate enterprises. The Mainland will also further increase its quota of Mainland tourists visiting Kinmen and Matsu, streamline application procedures, and announce related operational rules in the near future.
    The Mainland will increase its assistance in and improve implementation of the "repatriation of major economic criminals" Issue. The two sides will coordinate the relevant law enforcement authorities on both sides and use the liaison mechanism and enforcement platform of the Agreement on Joint Cross-Strait Crime-Fighting and Mutual Judicial Assistance to continue active coordination and pragmatic negotiation on the closely watched issue of repatriation of major criminals. They will also work together to combat major criminal activity and  maintain cross-strait economic, financial and social order so as to meet the expectations of society.
    With respect to cross-strait exchanges and cooperation in various fields, the two sides will continue to strengthen medical care for Taiwanese and Mainland students, give more attention and provide more care for their livelihood, and continue to promote exchanges and interactions between colleges and universities on the two sides. Furthermore, the two sides will continue to encourage cross-strait exchanges and interaction in various fields. Through cooperation and exchanges in the grassroots, youth, economic and trade sectors, the two sides may share respective society development experiences, increase mutual understanding and strengthen momentum for peaceful and stable development of cross-strait relations.
    Regarding public concerns over the Mainland's recently announced draft National Security Law and controversial joint statement with Belarus, Minister Hsia reiterated Taiwan's solemn stance and delivered the reactions of Taiwanese society at the meeting. He called for the Mainland to give greater consideration to the Taiwanese people’s feelings and show more goodwill in terms of security, dignity, and international participation issues much concerned by the Taiwanese people. He said that this would be beneficial to building public support for cross-strait development and will increase momentum for peaceful developments across the Strait.
    The normalized communication and liaison mechanism between the MAC and the TAO was launched over a year ago. Minister Hsia stated that this mechanism has been used to effectively and pragmatically handle many important issues and has created a positive atmosphere beneficial to peaceful development across the Strait. In the future, the two sides should bring the pivotal role of this mechanism into full play so as to actively clear away communication problems and further broaden the scope of institutionalized interactions.
    The MAC stated that holding of the Third Meeting between Heads of Cross-Strait Competent Authorities symbolizes the continued forward progress of institutionalized cross-strait relations, the deepening and normalization of official cross-strait interactions,  and the conviction of the two sides to jointly maintain the development of peace across the Strait. During the meeting, Minister Zhang also invited Minister Hsia to visit the Mainland. The MAC stated that arrangements for Minister Hsia to visit the Mainland would be made when the time is appropriate. TAO Director Zhang and his delegation will tour Kinmen tomorrow and leave Kinmen by boat tomorrow evening.