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Mainland ready for cross-Straits post service
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A Chinese mainland official said on Friday that the mainland is ready to launch a direct postal service across the Taiwan Straits slated for next Monday.

The direct postal service would end a situation that has prevailed since 1949, under which air, sea and postal movements between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan have gone through a third place.

Wang Yuci, deputy head of the State Post Bureau of China, said Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Fuzhou, Xiamen, Xi'an, Nanjing and Chengdu in the Chinese mainland, and Taipei, Kaohsiung, Keelung, Kinmen and Matsu of Taiwan were selected as regional distribution centers for the service.

Distribution centers would be adjusted or added based on future needs, he noted.

New services between post bureaux across the Taiwan Straits including express mail, parcel post, and postal remittances would start from next Monday to meet the needs of people on both sides, he said.

Before, only registered mails were allowed to be sent across the Taiwan Straits following an agreement signed by the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in 1993.

Parcels, remittances and express mails could only be sent via Hong Kong and Macao.

However, the official said the new postal remittance service would be carried out by phases because of technical problems.

Residents on the mainland could cash their remittance from Taiwan next Monday, while Taiwan residents had to wait until January or February, he said.

In early November, the ARATS and the SEF, authorized by the Chinese mainland and Taiwan respectively to handle cross-Straits issues, signed the agreements on direct postal services during their first summit in Taipei.

The two sides also signed agreements on direct shipping and flights, and food safety.

(Xinhua News Agency December 13, 2008)

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