Ma calls for cross-strait representative offices

Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said Aug. 14 that it is time to consider the establishment of reciprocal cross-strait representative offices.

Speaking at a meeting of the ruling Kuomintang, Ma, who doubles as KMT chairman, said that with cross-strait trade standing at US$160 billion many measures are long overdue, including deliberations on opening reciprocal representative offices.

“Other than a tourism office in Beijing, Taiwan currently has no representative offices in mainland China,” the president said.

Mainland Affairs Council spokesman Liu Te-shun said later the same day that the issue was discussed during the eighth round of talks between Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of Taipei-based Straits Exchange Foundation, and Chen Yunlin, chairman of Beijing’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. The two sides agreed to separately study the question and exchange views at an appropriate time, Liu said.

Ma also said he had instructed MAC, the Ministry of Education and Department of Health in February to review the possibility of including mainland students in Taiwan in the National Health Insurance program, and to re-evaluate all the restrictions they are subject to.

These cover the limited number of mainland Chinese universities recognized by the government, quotas for mainland students, exceptions to degrees recognized, not including mainland students in existing admission quotas, as well as bans on scholarships, extra points for admission, part-time jobs, employment on the island after graduation and participation in national exams.

Taiwan Today