The chairmen of the Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) on Thursday convened their first talks in nine years.
Chen Yunlin (R), Chairman of Chinese mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), shakes hands with Chiang Pin-kun, Chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) in Beijing, China, June 12, 2008. ARATS chairman Chen Yunlin and SEF chairman Chiang Pin-kun started their talks in Beijing at around 9:00 a.m. Thursday. [Xinhua Photo]
ARATS chairman Chen Yunlin and SEF chairman Chiang Pin-kun started their talks at around 9 a.m. in Beijing.
The ARATS and SEF are authorized non-governmental organizations engaged in talks on issues related to exchanges across the Taiwan Straits.
ARATS was established in Beijing on Dec. 16, 1991, aimed at promoting cross-Straits exchanges, developing cross-Straits relations and realizing a peaceful reunification of China.
The SEF was established in Taipei on Nov. 21, 1990. It was authorized by the Mainland Affairs Council under the "Executive Yuan" of Taiwan to deal with cross-Straits affairs deemed "inconvenient" for the Taiwan authority to handle.
In 1992, the two organizations held negotiations in Hong Kong on how to state "adherence to the one-China policy" and reached the "1992 Consensus".
In 1993, ARATS chairman Wang Daohan and SEF chairman Koo Chen-fu held talks in Singapore in the first public meeting between high-level figures in the name of non-governmental organization leaders since 1949.
The meeting between Wang and Koo established an institutionalized negotiation mechanism and marked an important step forward in the cross-Straits relations.
During the meeting, four agreements were signed to promote trade and people-to-people exchanges.
After the meeting, more than 20 consultations at different levels were held. In 1998, Wang and Koo held meeting again in Shanghai.
Talks between the two sides were suspended in 1999 after Taiwan leader at the time Li Teng-hui proposed his "special state-to-state" model for cross-Straits relations.
(Xinhua News Agency June 12, 2008)