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China To Discuss Taiwan Talks

September 15, 1998

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ In a move warmly greeted in Taipei, China said today it will play host to Taiwan’s top negotiator next month and agreed to preliminary talks on an agenda for the visit.

Koo Chen-fun may hold a news conference and meet with Taiwanese investors when he visits Beijing and Shanghai Oct. 14-19, China’s Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits said in a letter.

The letter was addressed to the association’s counterpart in Taiwan, the semiofficial Straits Exchange Foundation. Koo is chairman of the foundation, which is responsible for Taiwan’s contacts with China.

China announced it has also agreed to allow lower-level officials from each side to meet and discuss details of Koo’s visit.

Taiwanese Premier Vincent Siew praised the letter, saying: ``I hope this meeting will point the two sides’ dialogue in the right direction and lend it substantive significance.″

Taiwan hopes Koo’s trip will pave the way for a resumption of talks that China broke off in 1995 over Taiwan’s efforts to raise its international profile.

China and Taiwan split politically in 1949 when Mao Tse-tung’s communists drove the nationalists out of China.

China wants Taiwan to discuss political issues relating to reunification. But Taiwan advocates picking up talks where they left off: on practical matters such as resolution of fishing disputes.

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