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SEF chief hopes for smooth talks with ARATS chief
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Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), on Sunday expressed hope that the upcoming talks with mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) chief Chen Yunlin would be smooth.

The talks, scheduled early next month in Taipei, were important to cross-Strait relations and expected to benefit the Taiwan economy, Chiang said, urging support from all parties on the island.

According to him, major tasks of the talks include completing the previous talks between the two, that is, extending the topics of the weekend cross-Strait chartered flights and mainland tourists visiting Taiwan.

He expected the talks would help increase the frequency of the chartered flights and the number of terminals and shorten the route.

He also hoped the talks would enhance cross-Strait cooperation in promoting freight charter flights and direct sea shipping and in food safety.

Taiwan's economy would benefit from the peaceful and stable cross-Strait ties, and Taiwan could avoid being marginalized in regional economy through improving relations with the mainland, he said.

Chiang called the talks "historic" and "pivotal" for cross-Strait ties.

It was the first time that the talks were held on the island since the two organizations were set up nearly 18 years ago, he said.

(Xinhua News Agency October 27, 2008)

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