Taiwan's SEF new head vows efforts in cross-Strait ties

Updated: 2012-09-27 23:34


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TAIPEI - The Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) on Thursday formally accepted the resignation of its chairman, Chiang Pin-kung, and elected Lin Join-sane as its new head.

Lin will act as the top negotiator between the SEF and its mainland counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), Xinhua learned after a meeting held at the SEF headquarters.

Founded in 1990 and 1991, respectively, the SEF and the ARATS are the non-governmental organizations authorized by Taiwan and the mainland to engage in talks regarding cross-Strait exchanges.

Lin, 67, had previously served as secretary general of the Kuomintang party and of Taiwan's executive authority body. He also held roles as a member of the board of directors and of the supervisory committee of the SEF.

In response to a question from Xinhua at a press conference held after the election, Lin said he hopes both sides of the Taiwan Strait will achieve win-win results through consultations and cooperation for the common welfare of the people.

He said he is convinced that maintaining the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties is in the expectations of people on both sides and remains the choice that benefits them most.

The SEF will stick to the principle of "giving priority to urgent topics, and putting easy topics before difficult ones, economic ones before political ones" in carrying forward the negotiations with its mainland counterpart, according to Lin.

He expects Taiwan and the mainland to reach more consensuses in fields such as the goods and services trade, dispute settlement and customs cooperation in the future.

Meanwhile, he said the SEF will also further boost cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation in the culture, education, sports, environmental protection and science and technology sectors.

Chiang, who has headed the SEF since May 2008 and is about to turn 80, announced last week that he would step down from his post due to his age, physical condition and future career plans.

His resignation has been accepted by Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeou.

During the period that Chiang chaired the SEF, the SEF and the ARATS held eight rounds of talks that resulted in the signing of 18 cross-Strait agreements, including the landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, which has greatly boosted mainland-Taiwan trade and investment.

In the latest round of talks, held in August in Taipei, Chiang and his mainland counterpart Chen Yunlin, president of the ARATS, signed two cross-Strait agreements, including a long-awaited investment protection pact.

Addressing Thursday's SEF meeting, Chiang thanked those who have offered their help and support over the past four years in which the SEF, under his chairmanship, reached 18 pacts through eight rounds of talks with the ARATS -- experiences and results he will cherish as a "lifetime honor."

Looking ahead, SEF-ARATS negotiations are leaving an "easy" period for a "difficult" period, and negotiations will become increasingly difficult, he said, urging people to support the SEF in reaching early agreements with its mainland counterpart on goods and services trade.

He said he submitted his resignation mainly due to "personal reasons," citing his weakened physical strength and energy and his personal hopes of spending more time with his family.

Fan Liqing, a mainland spokeswoman, said on Wednesday that Chiang has made active contributions in boosting cross-Strait relations.

During Chiang's tenure since 2008, the SEF and ARATS have resumed dialogues on the basis of the 1992 Consensus after such dialogues had been suspended for nearly ten years.

Chiang took the post at a time when cross-Strait relations faced an historic turnover, according to Fan.

Lin Join-sane spoke highly of Chiang's work. On Thursday, he said that the SEF will continue to follow current policies and directions and strive for greater achievements.