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Cross-strait cooperation talksto focus on crime and finance

Chinese mainland negotiator Chen Yunlin and his Taiwan counterpart Chiang Pin-kung are planning to hold a new round of talks on expanding cross-strait relations later this month or early May, State Council Taiwan Affairs Office spokesman Li Weiyi said yesterday.

The talks between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation will focus on joint efforts to crack down on crime, regular cross-strait flights, financial cooperation and judiciary assistance, Li said. The two sides will also discuss mainland investment on the island, he added.

"Progress has already been made through exchanges of experts from both organizations," Li said.

He added that the mainland would always welcome a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement between the two sides to exploit their own advantages and ensure mutual benefits.

Representatives of both groups met in Shanghai last week to discuss the time and location of the meeting.

The foundation proposed it be held in a location other than Beijing, such as Nanjing in the eastern province of Jiangsu, Li said, adding that the association was still considering the proposal.

Discussing details

It is making preparations to hold a preliminary meeting with the foundation in Taipei on Saturday to further discuss details of the coming talks, Li said.

Founded in 1991 and 1990 respectively, the association and the foundation were authorized by the mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-strait exchanges.

Negotiations had been suspended for almost 10 years until June last year when Chen and Chiang held their first meeting in Beijing.

On November 3, 2008, Chen led a delegation to Taiwan for a five-day historic visit, and signed four agreements on direct shipping, air transport, postal services and food safety.

Li added Premier Wen Jiabao would meet a delegation from the Taiwan-based Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation during the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference 2009 which begins on Friday in Hainan Province.


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