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SEF condemns disturbance at banquet for ARATS delegation
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Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) has condemned the disturbance incited by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) at a banquet in honor of visiting Chinese mainland chief negotiator Chen Yunlin.

"The irrational act has seriously damaged Taiwan's image, neither was it the way that kind Taiwan people would use to treat guests," the SEF said in a press release issued Wednesday night.

It said that the DPP act would cause serious damage to Taiwan's tourism and its image, "for which the DPP must shoulder full responsibility."

Chen, president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), is the first ARATS chief to visit Taiwan.

The ARATS delegation were attending the banquet hosted by the ruling Kuomintang (KMT) when the disturbance occurred Wednesday evening.

They returned to the Grand Hotel in Taipei, where they are staying, at the early hours on Thursday.

A KMT spokesman also condemned the disturbances.

The spokesman said on early Thursday morning that the talks between the ARATS and the SEF, which held Taiwan's interests at stake, aimed at boosting the island's economy.

He hoped that the DPP would abandon the partisanship and stop inciting the public and splitting the Taiwan society.

Chen's five-day visit to Taiwan marks the first ever talks between the ARATS and SEF leaders on the island.

On Tuesday, Chen and SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung held talks and signed four agreements on direct shipping and flights, postal services and food safety.

(Xinhua News Agency November 6, 2008)

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