SEF head hints about new cross-strait policy

Taipei--The head of Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) on Saturday hinted that President Tsai Ing-wen (???) will unveil a new policy on cross-Taiwan Strait relations on the one year anniversary of her presidency next month.

"Let's wait until May 20 and see what the president says," Tien Hung-mao (???) told reporters, referring to media reports that the government will make some new announcements in the second half of this year in the hope of breaking the current deadlock with mainland China.

According to Tien, although formal communication between the SEF and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), has been suspended, oral exchanges between the two sides remain smooth in the event of special situations.

With many technical matters to be handled across the strait, Taipei and Beijing need to have contact with each other so they can solve problems for the people, he said.

He added that he hopes cross-strait relations can move forward in the second half of this year and that the SEF and ARATS will increase and normalize their contact.

Also, he again invited ARATS President Chen Deming (???) to visit Taiwan or Kinmen, an Taiwan-controlled island county close to the Chinese coast, later this year, promising that Chen will be "sincerely welcomed and received" if he makes the trip.

Relations between Taiwan and China have been at a virtual standstill since Tsai and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party came to power in May 2016.

Beijing has frozen official talks between the two sides because Tsai's government refuses to endorse the "1992 consensus," which essentially implies that China and Taiwan are part of "one China."

Turning down Tien's previous invitation for him to visit Taiwan, Chen said in March that "I cannot possibly go (to Taiwan) as a foreigner."

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel