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ARATS chief concludes historic Taiwan visit
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The Chinese mainland chief negotiator on Taiwan affairs Chen Yunlin concluded his five-day historic visit to Taiwan Friday morning.

Chen Yunlin and Chiang Pin-kung at a brief send-off ceremony at Taipei's Grand Hotel Friday morning.

The Chinese mainland chief negotiator on Taiwan affairs, Chen Yunlin, returned to Beijing Friday afternoon completing a five-day historic visit to Taiwan.

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Chen, president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), arrived at the Beijing Capital International Airport at 13:50 local time.

"Chen and the whole delegation have fulfilled their historic task," said Wang Yi, director of both the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

Cross-Straits relations have a bright future that people never conceived before as a result of the systematic talks between ARATS and its Taiwan counterpart, Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), he said.

"We all know that there is still a tough path ahead, but no one can cut off the close connection between compatriots on both sides of the Straits that exists in our blood," Wang said. "Neither can anyone stop the eager exchanges between us nor reverse the trend towards peaceful development."

Chen's visit marked the first ever talks between ARATS and SEF leaders on the island.

"There were indeed disruptions during the Taiwan visit, but we received warm welcome and encourage from more Taiwan people. They showed sincere support to us and true expectation for peaceful development of cross-Straits relations," Chen said at the airport.

The peaceful development of cross-Straits relations will benefit Taiwan people and is also the inevitable trend of history, he said. "We firmly believe that the sense of justice is common to all people."

More and more Taiwan people will feel the benefits from the talks when more progress is made, he said.

"More of them will understand and support us," he added. "We believe, more strongly than before, that the perspective of peace and development across the Straits will be broader. No disruption can stop it."

Before leaving Taipei, Chen said his trip completed "a long-awaited and honored mission entrusted by compatriots across the Taiwan Straits."

"The road ahead is still very long and there will be various difficulties, but we will definitely take our responsibility," he said, adding that the ARATS and the SEF will live up to the expectations of compatriots from both sides.

SEF chairman Chiang Pin-kung praised Chen's visit, saying it was short but "fruitful".

Chiang promised that his organization would continue to work for peace across the Straits and mutual economic benefits between Taiwan and the mainland.

Set up in 1991 and 1990 respectively, the ARATS and the SEF were two non-governmental organizations authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-Straits issues.

During Chen's stay in Taiwan, he held talks with Chiang and the two signed four agreements on direct shipping, air transport, postal services and food safety. No cross-Straits political issues were involved in the talks.

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