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Taiwan chief negotiator to resign

Taiwan chief negotiator Chiang Pin-kung said in Taipei today he had submitted his resignation as chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF).

Chiang, who is turning 77 this December, told media this morning that he decided to resign because of his "age" and "physical strength."

He said it was not a sudden decision and he had already delivered his verbal resignation to Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou by the end of last year, but Ma allegedly tried to retain him.

Chiang, a Ph.D from the University of Tokyo, was designated as chairman of the SEF, a nongovernmental organization dealing with cross-strait affairs, after Ma became the leader of Taiwan in May 2008.

As the chief negotiator from Taiwan, he had held rounds of talks with his counterpart Chen Yunlin, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) since June 2008.

After he served as the SEF chairman, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan signed agreements on weekend charter flights, tourism, direct shipping, air transport, postal services and food safety.

In the latest round of talks between the SEF and the ARATS held in Nanjing of eastern Jiangsu Province in late April, the two sides signed agreements on opening regular flights, boosting cooperation in finance and cracking down on crime.


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