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Mainland Pushes for Exchanges (07/08/2002)

Wang Daohan, chairman of the Association of Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (Arats), said on July 7 in Shanghai  that Chinese mainland and Taiwan have every reason to open direct shipping, postal and business services, the so-called "three direct links".

While meeting a business promotion delegation from Taiwan, Wang expressed his willingness to visit Taiwan and hold talks with top leaders of Taiwan, including Chen Shui-bian.

Wang said that the mainland's preparations for launching the "three direct links" -- direct exchanges of mail, business, air and shipping services -- are completed, and the mainland is ready.

The chairman also quoted Vice-Premier Qian Qichen as saying the two parties across the Straits need not to "touch upon the political meaning of `One China' in order to launch the "three direct links".

Wang said that Taiwan authorities should grasp the good chance, as the new mainland considerations will boost the interests of Taiwan.

Qian made the remarks during meetings in Beijing last Friday with a group of Taiwan businessmen who are in favour of direct cross-Straits links. The group is led by Hsu Xinliang, a noted political figure in Taiwan, who is also the former Chairman of Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

Qian told the delegation that the mainland has made preparations for the "direct links" in the past few years, adding the links can go ahead as long as the Taiwan authorities allow non-governmental business organizations to get involved in negotiations with their counterparts in the mainland.

The deputy premier emphasized the issue of "the three links" as purely an economic one, arguing that is should not be affected and disrupted by political factor.

In late 1940s as a result of China's civil war, the mail, air, shipping and all business exchanges between the mainland and Taiwan were cut.

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