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Hu lauds cross-Straits accords

— Photo: Xinhua

A new page in ties: Chinese President Hu Jintao (right) with Chiang Pin-kun, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), in Beijing on Friday.

BEIJING: China’s President Hu Jintao met Taiwan’s chief negotiator Chiang Pin-kun on Friday and said the resumption of talks signalled a good start of the improvement and development of relations.

Mr. Chiang, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), was in Beijing for talks with the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). Mr. Hu said the resumption of meetings showed the two sides were capable of overcoming existing problems through talks and negotiations.

“As long as the both sides can build mutual trust, shelve differences, seek common ground and create a win-win situation, we will be able to continuously advance our negotiations and score more positive progress,” he added. Mr. Chiang agreed that the talks “opened a new page” in relations, saying it would see further development through cooperation and mutual benefit.

On Friday, the ARATS and SEF signed two agreements on weekend chartered flights and Chinese tourists’ travel to Taiwan. Mr. Hu said the agreements would contribute to the realisation of direct links for mail, trade and transport services between China and Taiwan.

Chinese tourists can visit Taiwan by chartered flights on weekends from next month. So far, the service is only in operation during Chinese festivals. “It is significant progress for cross-Straits talks,” said Sun Yafu, ARATS vice-chairman. — Xinhua

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