China and Taiwan discuss tourism, food safety issues
TAIPEI, Taiwan - Issues related to cross-Taiwan Strait tourism and food safety were discussed during the latest meeting held Thursday between the chief negotiators of the two sides, an official said.
The meeting is the eighth round of talks between Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and his Chinese counterpart, Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits President Chen Yunlin, since 2008.
In addition to putting the finishing touches on the texts of an investment protection deal and customs cooperation pact to be signed at the meeting, Chiang and Chen also examined the implementation of other agreements signed over the past four years, according to SEF spokesman Ma Shao-chang.
One of the issues raised by Taipei was that of compensation for Taiwanese manufactures affected by the scandal of the 2008 melamine contamination of dairy products in China, Ma said.
Also discussed was the practice of delaying payments to Taiwanese businesses by Chinese travel agencies that organize group tours to Taiwan and how to ensure the quality of cross-strait travel, he said.
The two sides, meanwhile, also touched upon a proposal to strengthen their cooperation in developing new pharmaceuticals, he added.
Coinciding with the meeting held at the Grand Hotel in Taipei, various groups of anti-China and pro-Taiwan independence activists staged protests near the venue.
Barred from approaching the site due to a heavy police presence and traffic controls, politicians from the opposition Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) and their supporters opted to gather in front of the Taipei Fine Art Museum located on a main road leading to the hotel.
They held banners reading "Chiang-Chen talks sell out Taiwan" and shouted "get out, Chen Yunlin."
A group of Falun Gong followers, meanwhile, held a sit-in nearby, while several Tibetan exiles in Taiwan attempted unsuccessfully to break through police barricades. Falun Gong is a spiritual movement that is banned in China.
Three TSU protesters managed to sneak through police lines and reached the hotel aboard a hotel-operated shuttle bus, but were quickly discovered and removed by police.