Delegation Supports Full Cross-Straits Links

A major opposition party delegation from Taiwan arrived in Beijing yesterday afternoon in a fresh effort to push ahead with the three direct links across the Taiwan Straits.

The pro-reunification People First Party delegation, consisting of 16 lawmakers from the party and dozens of business leaders, was led by party heavyweight Liu Sung-pan.

They are planning to hold talks with mainland officials on a full opening-up of trade, transport and postal services - dubbed the three direct links - across the Taiwan Straits during their five-day visit to the mainland.

A spokesman with the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits said yesterday that the People First Party delegation will hold talks today with his organization as well as related central governmental departments to exchange views about the three direct links.

They are also planning to visit several central governmental bodies, including the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, during their two-day stay in Beijing, according to the spokesman.

Vice-Premier Qian Qichen is scheduled to meet with the delegation tomorrow.

The People First Party delegation will then leave Beijing to visit Tianjin and Xi'an in Shaanxi Province before returning to Taiwan by way of Hong Kong on Friday.

The group is the third political party delegation from Taiwan to visit Beijing this year for talks on the three links.

In early January, the Kuomintang Party and the New Party sent separate delegations to Beijing in a bid to fully implement the three links as soon as possible.

Their move came despite the formal start, on January 2, of the so-called "mini-three links" scheme, which was given the green light by Taiwan authorities in November last year.

The unilateral plan only partially opens up direct commercial, shipping and communications links between the outlying Taiwanese islands of Jinmen and Matsu and the port cities of Xiamen and Fuzhou in Fujian Province.

(China Daily 04/02/2001)

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