Beijing, Sept. 20 (CNA) A former Chinese negotiator with Taiwan refused Thursday to comment in detail on the forthcoming changes in Taiwan's China affairs chief and its top negotiator with China, saying only that he expected cross-strait ties to remain the same.
Tang Shubei, the former vice president of Beijing's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), told Taiwanese journalists that he is not in a position to comment in detail on the reshuffle, but said he believed that the function of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) will remain the same despite the change of its head.
He was responding to a request to comment on the partial reshuffle of President Ma Ying-jeou's administration, in which incumbent Kuomintang Secretary-General Lin Join-sane will be Taiwan's new top China negotiator as head of the SEF, while Wang Yu-chi, an adviser to the National Security Council and a former spokesman for the Presidential Office, will head the Mainland Affairs Council under the Executive Yuan.
Noting that Wang, 43, is very young, Tang said the chiefs of both the ARATS and the SEF cannot remain unchanged forever, however, the roles of the nominally private organizations established by Beijing and Taipei to deal with each other in the absence of formal relations would not be changed.
Although Beijing and Taipei are busy with Economic Cooperation Framework Arrangement follow-up talks for the time being, Beijing will like to see more complicated bilateral issues, such as political issues, be broached by private sectors from both sides, Tang said.
The ties between Taipei and Beijing will move toward the path of peaceful development in view of the political and economic situations across the Taiwan Strait and around the world, said Tang, who currently serves as the honorary head of the Institute of Taiwan Studies at Beijing Union University.
As for the Diaoyutai Islands, which are at the center of territorial disputes among China, Japan and Taiwan, Tang echoed the call made by Jia Qinglin, the chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, that Taipei and Beijing may both defend their sovereignty over these islands in their own way.
(By Lawrence Chiu and Maubo Chang)