|Chen Deming (front row, second from left), president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, shakes hands with Lin Join-sane, chairman of Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation, after the two sides signed two agreements in Taipei on Thursday. Wang Juewei / for China Daily|
Deals signed to bolster efforts in disaster relief and prevention
The mainland and Taiwan signed two agreements in Taipei on Thursday to expand cooperation in meteorological and earthquake monitoring, and disaster prevention and relief.
The agreements were signed by Chen Deming, president of mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, and Lin Join-sane, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation.
Chen said on Thursday that people from the mainland and Taiwan have shown great sympathy to each other when natural disasters have occurred. A cooperation agreement on disaster relief, he added, will enhance cross-Straits ties.
He said about one-third of the world's earthquakes and 40 percent of the world's hurricanes strike the mainland and Taiwan, so it's urgent for both sides to enhance cooperation in natural disasters prevention and relief.
Chen arrived in Taiwan on Wednesday. On Friday before heading back to the mainland, he will visit the Taipei Zoo to see panda cub Yuan Zai. The 7-month-old cub is the first giant panda born on the island. The cub's mother, Yuan Yuan, and her mate, Tuan Tuan, were goodwill gifts from the mainland in 2008.
During the two-day talks, the two sides are also scheduled to discuss taxation reductions, commodity trade agreements and the establishment of a mechanism for resolving trade disputes. Both sides will discuss establishing offices by both organizations in each region.
Chen said before he kicked off his trip, he attended a meeting between Party chief Xi Jinping and the delegation led by Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan.
"General Secretary Xi Jinping said the mainland and Taiwan are one big family and we should strive for our Chinese dreams together," Chen said.
Lin said the two agreements are expected to help each other attain more accurate information on meteorological disasters and earthquake monitoring.
ARATS and SEF have held 10 rounds of talks and signed 21 agreements since 2008.
"It is like building 21 expressways for cross-Straits cooperation that will create a win-win situation and enable both sides to enjoy more of the benefits of peace," Lin said.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, said on Wednesday that the agreements allow authorities from the mainland and Taiwan to work together to better protect people's safety and properties.
"It is a sign of expanded cooperation and the development of dialogue across the Straits," Ma said at a news conference in Beijing.
Shen Xuhui, a senior scientist at the China Earthquake Administration, spoke highly of the agreements.
"Taiwan has many influential earthquake experts and scholars and the agreement can further advance our knowledge of earthquakes," Shen said.
Cross-Straits exchanges have grown in recent years. The number of mainland visitors to Taiwan reached 2.19 million in 2013, up from 1.97 million in 2012, according to statistics released on Thursday by the Cross-Straits Tourism Communication Association.