- Title: TAIWAN: Taiwan and China to hold free-trade talks amid protests
- Date: 22nd December 2009
- Summary: TAICHUNG, TAIWAN (DECEMBER 21, 2009) (REUTERS) PROTESTERS LINING UP LEADERS ON A TRUCK PROTESTERS HOLDING SIGN READING "TAIWAN IS MY COUNTRY" (SOUNDBITE) (Taiwanese) 59-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER, WEN QUAN-YI SAYING: "KMT used to teach us to defend ourselves against Communist China, they said Communists are evil, they wanted to save people in China, but now they are scared of them, this is how I feel." (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) 27-YEAR-OLD PROTESTER, HUANG CHUN-LUNG SAYING: "I am against signing ECFA, because this agreement has no public opinion basis, we don't even know what they are signing, so we oppose it. We are also against China's 'One China Policy', because Taiwan is Taiwan, China is China, we are two different countries, and we are against the missiles pointed at Taiwan too." PEOPLE HOLDING BANNER READING "ONE SIDE ONE COUNTRY" PROTESTERS BESIDE A MAJOR ROAD PROTESTERS WAITING FOR CHEN YUNLIN'S ARRIVAL
- Embargoed: 6th January 2010 12:00
- Topics: International Relations
- Reuters ID: LVAMGCS0CELP7FKHXWYDI434ZQ1
- Story Text: Chinese envoy arrived at Taiwan's central city of Taichung to attend the fourth round of cross-strait talks as protesters awaited.
Noisy but heavily policed protests greeted a top Chinese official when he arrived in Taiwan on Monday (December 21) for talks on a broad two-way trade deal between the political rivals.
About 200 protesters, organised by the island's opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), shouted "China, Taiwan, one side, one country," as Chinese negotiator Chen Yunlin was driven from the airport along a guarded back road.
The DPP seeks Taiwan's formal independence from China.
Hundreds more protesters blasted air horns as Chen reached his hotel ahead of the talks in Taichung in central Taiwan, the self-ruled, export-reliant island China claims as its own.
Chinese and Taiwanese negotiators will meet formally on Tuesday (December 22) to discuss an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which would slash import tariffs and open the banking sector. It is set to be signed next year.
"KMT used to teach us to defend ourselves against Communist China, they said Communists are evil, they wanted to save people in China, but now they are scared of them, this is how I feel," said protester Wen Quan-yi.
"I am against signing ECFA, because this agreement has no public opinion basis, we don't even know what they are signing, so we oppose it. We are also against China's 'One China Policy', because Taiwan is Taiwan, China is China, we are two different countries, and we are against the missiles pointed at Taiwan too," said another protester 27-year-old Huang Chun-jung from southern Taiwan.
Some Taiwan merchants in traditional industries fear the ECFA will lead to a flood of competing goods from economic powerhouse China.
Chen's Taiwan counterpart P.K. Chiang held a small welcome ceremony for him after he arrived.
"In the past, the two organisations have negotiated since the talks resumed in June 2008, this platform has produced nine agreements and one consensus, which means there have been 10 expressways being established on this platform, benefiting people from across the straits, with goods and monetary exchange," said Chiang.
Hundreds of police stood guard outside the airport as Chen arrived. Protesters have vowed to keep targeting Chen throughout his five-day stay.
Chen acknowledged the protests in remarks at his hotel.
"Just now, on the way here, I saw many folks against my visit or being unwelcoming, I also saw many folks welcoming my visit, welcoming the two organisations' talks to solve problems, and seeking mutual benefit. For the folks who wish to express different opinions, we absolutely respect. For the folks who welcome me, I must say thank you," said Chen.
Protests during China-Taiwan talks in Taipei last year sparked rioting that injured police and demonstrators.
China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary.
But relations have warmed since China-friendly Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou took office last year. The two sides have since signed historic trade deals.
Also on Tuesday's agenda is a deal to avoid double taxation while lowering both corporate and personal income taxes, incentives for Taiwan investors in China as well as foreign firms based on one side but active on the other.
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