Taiwan, China Agree to Open Permanent Offices on Respective SoilBy VOA News
12 June 2008
Taiwan delegates (L, table)and their Chinese counterparts (R, table) during talks at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, 12 Jun 2008Taiwan and China have reached an agreement to establish permanent offices in each other's territory.
A spokeswoman for Taiwan's semi-official cross-Straits agency says the agreement was reached in Beijing Thursday, as the two sides opened their first formal talks since 1999.
China's official Xinhua news agency says the country's main envoy on cross-Strait affairs Chen Yunlin has accepted an invitation from his Taiwanese counterpart to visit the island this year.
The negotiators are expected to sign an agreement during the talks to allow more Chinese tourists to visit Taiwan, and to begin regular Saturday and Sunday charter flights.
Relations between Taiwan and China have improved since Ma Ying-jeou assumed the Taiwanese presidency last month. Mr. Ma has taken a far more conciliatory approach with China than his predecessor, Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
Chinese President Hu Jintao and the head of Mr. Ma's ruling Nationalist Party, Wu Poh-hsiung, held an unprecedented meeting in Beijing last month.
It was the highest-level contact between the rivals since a civil war divided them in 1949.
Beijing claims self-ruled Taiwan is part of its own territory, and has threatened to use force against the island if it formally declares independence.