'One small step' across Taiwan Straits

Updated: 2014-06-25 09:24


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TAIPEI - Chinese mainland chief of Taiwan affairs Zhang Zhijun will embark on his trip to Taiwan on Wednesday. To paraphrase Neil Armstrong's moonwalk quote: one small step for Zhang, one giant leap for cross-Straits relations.

Indeed, the historical significance of this visit -- the first to Taiwan in the name of a director of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office since 1949 -- hardly pales in comparison with that of a moon landing for mankind's scientific progress.

Zhang is scheduled to meet Wang Yu-chi, director of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, during his June 25-28 visit. It will be the second meeting between the two this year, after one on the mainland in February.

For the upcoming rendezvous, Zhang is expected to exchange views with Wang on cross-Straits relations and lay down future plans for their development after the fruitful February meeting consolidated mutual trust and saw agreement on regular communication between their cross-Straits affairs departments.

Another highlight of the trip will be Zhang spending three whole days going deep into grassroots regions across the island to chat with experts, college students, farmers, fishermen, members of minority groups, religious people, businessmen as well as spouses from the mainland about mainland-Taiwan relations and mainland's policies for the island.

Devoting three out of four days of a tight visit to a wide spectrum of Taiwan people says a lot about the mainland's care for the island's public opinions and its determination to relieve locals' worries.

One of the many selling points of Zhang's visit will be that mainland officials managing Taiwan affairs will see more pertinent and effective work results given the intimate knowledge about the island gathered from the trip.

As in the popular Chinese phrase "Jie Di Qi," or connect with the essence of the earth, one must be realistic and win local support to do a good job.

Against the noises and tricks trumpeting sentiment against the mainland and cross-Straits cooperation on the island, may Zhang's visit clear confusions and boost mutual trust between the two sides.