(AFP) – Dec 19, 2010
TAIPEI — China's top negotiator for Taiwan Chen Yunlin arrived on the island shortly before noon Monday (0400 GMT) for a new round of talks between the two former rivals.
Chen's plane touched down at the Taoyuan International Airport outside the island's capital Taipei, as a small group of protesters favouring Taiwan independence waited for him in the terminal building, TV footage showed.
Radical Taiwanese groups resisting closer ties with China have vowed to follow Chen "every step of the way" during his stay.
Chen is scheduled to meet his Taiwanese counterpart for talks on Tuesday. Each represents an organisation in charge of exchanges between Beijing and Taipei in the absence of official contact.
The talks will focus on epidemic-control measures and joint research and development of medicines, herbal medicines and emergency treatment, with Chen expected to return to the mainland on Wednesday.
Ties have improved markedly since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou came to power in May 2008, with the two sides resuming routine high-level direct unofficial talks and adopting various measures to boost trade and tourism.
Taipei and Beijing forged a comprehensive trade pact in June, known as the "Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement", that marked the culmination of Ma's China-friendly policies.
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