China, Taiwan to expand charter flights and tourism

June 13th, 2008 - 3:54 pm ICT by ANI  

New Delhi, June 13 (ANI): A day after announcing plans to set up permanent offices in each others territory for the first time, Taiwan and China formally agreed to expand charter flights and tourism on Friday.

Chen Yunlin, chairman of the China-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), and Chiang Pin-kun, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) signed a memorandum on weekend chartered flights in Beijing.

The service, scheduled to start from July 4, will include 36 return flights for every weekend, from Friday to Monday, and the number will increase according to demands, the minutes said.

China and Taiwan airliners will operate 18 flights respectively, the China Daily reported.

The mainland will open five terminals first, which is Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Xiamen and Nanjing while Taiwan will have eight terminals, it said.

Pang Chien-kuo, SEF deputy secretary-general, said the representative offices would facilitate people exchanges and travel across the Straits.

Established in the early 1990s, the ARATS and the SEF are authorised semi-official bodies engaged in talks on cross-Straits exchanges.

But their exchanges were suspended in 1999 when the then Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui redefined the two sides ties as a special state-to-state relationship.

On Thursday, Chen said the two sides have taken the approach of economy before politics, the easy problems before the difficult ones.

The talks in the morning were followed by consultations on cross-Straits weekend chartered flights and mainland tourists’ travel to Taiwan, with both sides reaching full agreement on all terms.

The first cross-Straits talks in nearly a decade on Thursday resulted in agreement on a broad range of issues to boost bilateral exchanges.

On the first day of their meeting, the two sides agreed to set up permanent representative offices to coordinate contacts. (ANI)

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