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Non-governmental Organizations May Pioneer 'Three Links': Official
Non-governmental organizations across the Taiwan Straits may for the first time be commissioned to negotiate for the three cross-Strait exchanges - the mail service, trade, and air and shipping services, according to a senior Chinese mainland official.

"Deals resulting from these negotiations would then be implemented after confirmation by authorities on both sides," Li Bingcai, deputy director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party, said Monday at a meeting with a visiting delegation from the Cross-Strait Economic and Trade Association of Kuomintang in Taiwan.

Li is also vice president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) of the mainland.

This is the first time that the Chinese mainland has announced concrete propositions on the non-governmental approach to the "Three Links" issue. The two sides have been estranged since a civil war in the late 1940s.

Li reiterated the mainland's "one China" principle in promoting the three exchanges. He said that so long as the two sides regard the "Three Links" as the internal affairs of a state, non-governmental approaches would be used immediately to facilitate the "Three Links".

He also called on Taiwan authorities to remove restrictions on the entry of mainland products into Taiwan and to allow mainland enterprises and business groups to establish offices in Taiwan as soon as possible.

Her Jyh-Huei, head of the delegation from Taiwan, spoke highly of the meeting Monday. He said that since the two sides have both joined the WTO, promoting direct air and shipping links and other exchanges across the Straits has become inevitable. The Taiwan authorities should expedite this process.

He said that the mainland side has shown goodwill in the "Three Links" discussions. He hoped that sustained goodwill and sincerity from the mainland would help bring about the three exchanges" as soon as possible.

(People's Daily June 25, 2002)

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