Beijing wants more cross-Straits contact
Updated: 2014-02-20 02:40
By Pu Zhendong and Zhao Shengnan (China Daily)
Top adviser seeks innovative ways to create cooperation with TaiwanBeijing called on Wednesday for more people-to-people contacts with Taipei to deepen understanding as a follow-up to formal meetings between cross-Straits affairs officials from the two sides.
Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan leaves Peking University with his wife Lien Fang-yu on Wednesday. At a ceremony that day, the university made Lien an honorary professor. Zhu Xingxin / China Daily
Top political adviser Yu Zhengsheng also called for more innovative thinking to discover opportunities for cooperation.
"The regular communication mechanism, established between departments on both sides in charge of cross-Straits affairs, should play a more positive role to boost exchanges and consultations," said Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
Yu's remarks, at a symposium with the visiting Taiwan delegation, followed the recent first meetings between senior officials from both sides who are in charge of cross-Straits affairs. Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan is leading the 80-member civilian delegation from Taiwan.
"More people from both sides participating in exchanges will further solidify the peaceful development of cross-Straits ties," Yu said.
"Relations between the mainland and Taiwan will go far and grow steadily as long as both sides deepen understanding on the "1992 Consensus" within the one-China framework," he added.
Lien said cross-Straits relations are at a "critical juncture", and people from Taiwan and the mainland are both striving for happy lives.
"The two sides should promote relations on a new level based on our shared aspirations," Lien said. "I hope more people from all walks of life in Taiwan will interact with the mainland to build trust and the basis of cooperation for the future development of cross-Straits ties."
More than 40 mainland representatives and 70 Taiwan counterparts joined the discussion, titled "Deepening Communication, Common Development", that covered a broad range of cross-Straits topics such as economics, education and the military.
"Healthy development of cross-Straits relations hinges on people's support on both sides," said Kuo Yun-hui, chairman of Taiwan's Borough Warden Association.
"Communication on the local level helps to dispel misunderstandings. The two sides should shatter stereotypes about each other on the basis of shared Chinese culture, and develop a stable and irreversible trust mechanism among the people."
Peking University President Wang Enge called on deeper cooperation on education between the mainland and Taiwan. "The depth and frequency of exchanges between the young generation on both sides of the Straits should be promoted to bridge the gap of understanding," he said.
The Taiwan delegates include public figures from all walks of life in Taiwan, such as Buddhist master Hsing Yun and Hon Hai/Foxconn Chairman Terry Gou.
Lien will conclude his mainland visit in Shenyang, Liaoning province, on Thursday, where he will pay respects to his ancestral tombs.
Chu Jingtao, a researcher of Taiwan studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Lien is emerging as an important player in the continuing improvement of cross-Straits relations.
"Pioneered by Lien, cross-Straits communications have spread among civilians, parties and executive bodies," Chu said. "Calls on the island to engage in talks with the mainland are growing stronger."
In 2005, Lien made his ice-breaking visit to the mainland to meet then-Party head Hu Jintao. Since then, Lien has traveled to the mainland 16 times.
On Tuesday, Lien met Party chief Xi Jinping. The two reaffirmed cross-Straits consultations on political differences should be on an equal basis within the one-China framework.
Cross-Straits relations have improved significantly since Lien's 2005 visit to the mainland. The two sides have signed a series of landmark trade and economic agreements, making the mainland Taiwan's largest trading partner.
Cross-Straits trade volume doubled to $197 billion last year. Taiwan enjoys a $116 billion trade surplus with the mainland.
In another development, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported that the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits on the mainland and the Straits Exchange Foundation in Taiwan are scheduled to hold their 10th round of negotiations at the end of this month in Taipei.
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Xinhua contributed to this story.