CHINA> Interactive and comment
Taiwan media praise cross-Straits agreements
Updated: 2008-11-05 21:54

TAIPEI  -- Leading Taiwan media outlets are reacting Wednesday to the four agreements on direct flight, shipping, post service and food safety signed by the Chinese mainland and Taiwan on Tuesday.

All the pacts, including a memorandum about supervision on financial sectors across the Taiwan Straits, to be signed during the visit, can be considered "conducive to inspiring a depressed economic climate," says  Taiwan-based China Times editorial. It is titled, "Positive perspectives on the four agreements signed at Chen-Chiang meeting."

The editorial goes on to say, the agreement on direct flight will immediately reduce the cost and time for people traveling across the Straits. People and companies will save at least 3 billion New Taiwan dollars annually.

"The benefits obviously will outweigh the harms," it says.

Transport costs for many commodities will be greatly reduced and this will boost Taiwan's farm produce sales to the mainland market.

"Sales are likely to be three times what they are now," the editorial states.

Another leading newspaper, Commercial Times, quoted Taiwan's senior economic official Shih Yen-shiang as saying, through direct flight and shipping service, Taiwan might be more prepared to become a regional headquarters for multinational businesses.

The number of multinational companies with regional centers in Taiwan could increase from 615 to 800 next year thanks to easier travel and transport, he added.

The newspaper's editorial titled, "To seek smooth communication not only with the mainland but also within the island," said the four agreements will not only create a new boom of cross-Straits exchanges but will also pull the two sides so close together that it would be hard to isolate each again.

It also quoted senior economic official Chen Tien-chih as saying that the four agreements will help the two sides find a new pattern of investment and trade.

"Although the global market is likely to go down next year, I am guardedly optimistic of Taiwan's economy in a background of increasing cross-Straits trade. I don't think the economy will suffer a setback like 2001," Chen said.

Taiwan authorities announced last month that, due to global financial turmoil, the island's economic growth next year might not reach 5.08 percent as expected.

"The 'three direct links' have been stated for 30 years and will now finally be realized through the Chen-Chiang meeting," wrote the United Daily News in its editorial, "Link of mind, top of 'three links'".

The successful talks "marked a historic moment that cross-Straits relations moved past hostility towards negotiation and cooperation," wrote Shih Yea-ping, the island's government information office head, in an article in the newspaper.

The agreements were signed Tuesday by the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) president, Chen Yunlin, and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chairman, Chiang Pin-kung. Chen is on a five-day visit to Taiwan that began Monday.