Taichung mayor urges openness to Chiang-Chen talks

Updated: 2009-10-16 07:51

(HK Edition)

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Taichung mayor urges openness to Chiang-Chen talks

TAIPEI: Taichung Mayor Jason Hu yesterday urged pro-independence groups to be reasonable, after they unveiled a plan to demonstrate against the upcoming cross-Straits talks to be held in the central city in December.

According to Hu, the continuation of talks between Taiwan and the mainland is beneficial to both sides, since Taiwan cannot pretend not to see the mainland and cannot close the door to dialogue with Beijing.

Holding the talks in Taiwan will also lead to better understanding of Taiwan on the part of the mainland officials, Hu said.

He urged the pro-independence camp to pay attention to whether Taiwan's interests are being compromised in the talks, rather than reject all contact with the mainland.

The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) announced Tuesday that Taichung has been selected as the venue for the fourth meeting between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman Chiang Pin-kung and Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) President Chen Yunlin.

They are expected to sign four agreements regarding fishing labor cooperation, agricultural quarantine inspection, standards, inspection and certification for industrial products, and the avoidance of double taxation.

The plan, however, drew immediate opposition from pro-independence groups in central Taiwan, which vowed to mobilize like-minded organizations from southern Taiwan to stage a peaceful demonstration during the Chiang-Chen talks.

Lin Heng-li, vice president of the Central Taiwan Society, said yesterday that the groups are opposed to any agreements signed by Chiang and Chen, because such agreements are not subject to supervision by the Legislative Yuan or the opposition parties.

Pro-independence groups led by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party held massive protests in the streets of Taipei when Chen last visited Taiwan in November 2008 for his second round of talks with Chiang.

The protests turned violent when some demonstrators threw bottles and rocks at police and toppled police barricades. Police responded by spraying the protesters with water, scuffling with some of them and arresting others.

China Daily/CNA

(HK Edition 10/16/2009 page2)