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SEF seeks to end stalemate with China: chairwoman

2018/08/17 21:04:10

Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月/CNA file photo)

Taipei, Aug. 17 (CNA) Despite the current stalemate in cross-Taiwan Strait relations, the head of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) said on Friday that it was open to having exchanges with China and hopes that the two sides can shelve their differences while interacting and trying to seek common ground.

"We will continue to remain open-minded," SEF Chairwoman Chang Hsiao-yueh (張小月) told CNA, adding that she is willing to go to China for bilateral exchanges and also welcomes the other side to visit Taiwan.

The two sides must work together in order to understand one another, because engaging in indirect talks will only bring further misunderstandings, Chang said.

While Beijing continues to make the "1992 consensus" a prerequisite for opening cross-strait dialogue, Chang said the insistence will not help improve bilateral relations.

The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit understanding reached in 1992 between China and Taiwan, which was then under a Kuomintang government, that there is only one China, with both sides free to interpret what that means.

Cross-strait relations have been chilly since President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) took office in May 2016, mainly due to her refusal to heed Beijing's calls to recognize the "1992 consensus."

"We will continue to find ways to make a breakthrough," Chang explained, adding that the foundation was open for talks and that SEF was well prepared to act as a bridge between the two sides.

The foundation serves a pivotal role in Taiwan-China relations, and has been doing so for the last 30 years, Chang said.

The SEF, a semi-official intermediary body that deals with cross-strait affairs, serves both Taiwanese people in China and Chinese people in Taiwan in cases involving emergency assistance and relief.

(By Chai Sze-chia and Ko Lin)