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Mainland and Taiwan agree on flights, finance and crime

THE Chinese mainland and Taiwan yesterday signed agreements on opening regular flights, boosting cooperation in finance and cracking down on crime.

Chen Yunlin, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, and Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the Taiwan-based Strait Exchange Foundation, signed the agreements in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province.

Chen said strengthening cooperation would help both sides cope with the global economic downturn.

"The mainland will buy more products from Taiwan and send more tourists to the island, while encouraging more Taiwan enterprises to set up on the mainland to maintain stable development," Chen said.

Under the new agreements, the two sides are to launch regular passenger and cargo flights across the Taiwan Strait. Previously, direct cross-strait flight services were only provided at weekends and during major traditional festivals.

The number of flights is to increase to 270 a week from the current 108.

In addition to the current 21 terminals, the mainland will open another six cities, including Hefei, Harbin, Nanchang, Guiyang, Ningbo and Jinan for direct passenger flights. Taiwan has eight terminals.

Under the agreement on financial cooperation, the two sides agreed to boost mainland investment in the island and facilitate financial institutions to set up branches on both sides. The mainland and Taiwan will also continue to discuss issues concerning market access for financial institutions.

According to the anti-crime agreement, the two sides will collaborate in civil and criminal fields and take measures to jointly crack down on crime, with a special focus on those involving kidnapping, weapons, drugs, human trafficking and cross-strait organized crime. Cases of fraud, money laundering, forging or falsifying currencies, and securities, would also be targeted.

The two sides also agreed to exchange crime-related information and help each other investigate cases and collect evidence. Each side will help the other identify witnesses, and seize and repatriate criminals and suspects.

By January 2007, the mainland and Taiwan had returned 38,936 criminals, criminal suspects and people guilty of illegal entry since 1990, when the Kinmen Agreement was signed between Red Cross organizations across the Taiwan Strait.

The Nanjing talks were the third round of high-level negotiations between the mainland and Taiwan. The next round of meetings is due to be held in Taipei later this year.


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