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ARATS, SEF talks to continue if 1992 Consensus confirmed

BEIJING, Sept. 1 -- Communication between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan will improve if the latter agrees to adhere to the 1992 Consensus, which endorses the one-China principle, a mainland official said Thursday.

Currently, relations between the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) have been suspended.

"The reason for suspension of talks between the ARATS and the SEF is well-known. Our attitudes toward the issue are clear and consistent," said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office (SCTAO), in response to the appointment of new head of SEF.

Tien Hung-mao has been appointed the new chairman of SEF, a spokesperson of the island's leader's office said Wednesday.

SEF's top position had been left vacant after Lin Join-sane resigned as chairman in May. Tien is currently chairman of the board of the institute for the island's policy research.

The mainland's stance on ARATS-SEF talks has been reiterated by Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the SCTAO.

"The key issue (with resuming the talks) is not about people, but has political foundations," he said in an interview while attending a meeting in east China's Shandong Province.

He called on the industrial and commercial circles of the island to help maintain the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties and its political foundations to build a community of common destiny across the Strait.

He said the mainland's fundamental policies regarding Taiwan would not change, and it will continue to adhere to the 1992 Consensus, firmly oppose any form of "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities, protect Taiwanese business interests and promote cross-Strait exchanges.

Founded in 1991 and 1990, respectively, ARATS and SEF are authorized by the Chinese mainland and Taiwan to handle cross-Strait affairs.