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Chen Yunlin (L), president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), claps with Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman P.K. Chiang after receiving a gift during a cross-Straits meeting signing ceremony at the Grand Hotel in Taipei November 4, 2008. The characters read "peaceful consultations to create a win-win situation." [China Daily/Agencies] 

He said the mainland was considering a plan to allow residents across the mainland to travel to Taiwan.

Since July 20, only residents in the municipalities of Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai and Chongqing, and the provinces of Liaoning, Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Fujian, Shandong, Hubei, Guangdong, Yunnan and Shaanxi have been allowed to visit Taiwan in groups, under an agreement between the mainland and Taiwan concerned authorities.

Chen said tourism companies on both sides suggested that the tourist groups traveling to Taiwan should be composed of a minimum of five people, while the current rule was at least 10.

He said the ARATS agreed with the suggestion, and hoped that with more chartered flights on weekdays, the number of mainland tourists to Taiwan would increase.

Chen said the mainland would send two giant pandas as gifts to Taiwan by the end of the year. The other gift would be nyssaceae seed, an endangered flowering plant that grows in Sichuan Province. He hoped that they would be sown in Taiwan soil.

On behalf of the ARATS, Chen is to accept two rare animals from Taiwan. One is an indigenous goat with the scientific name of naemorhedus swinhoei, the other is a spotted deer.

Chen said he would carry the affection of the Taiwan people back to the mainland.

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