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Beijing open for 'equal' dialogues with Taipei

Publication Date : 19-02-2014


Beijing respects the social system adopted by Taiwan and is ready to have "equal" talks, President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday as he mapped out his detailed cross-Straits policies for the first time.

Nothing can cut the bond between the mainland and Taiwan, and "we have patience and also confidence" to resolve problems with cross-Straits ties, Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, told Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan in Beijing.

Xi also said Beijing welcomed people making efforts to boost the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, regardless of earlier stances, in a gesture analysts said conveys his message to Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

Experts said the mainland's top leader sent a clear signal to Taiwan that Beijing would like to provide enough room for peaceful consultations and development across the Straits by facing up to reality and being open.

The last time Xi met Lien was in February 2013, months after Xi became general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.

Cross-Straits relations have improved significantly since Lien's ice-breaking visit to the mainland in 2005 - which ended a 56-year deadlock - and Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou's taking office in 2008.

But that development mainly focuses on the economic sector, with the mainland being Taiwan's largest trading partner.

"As for the chronic political differences between the mainland and Taiwan, we are willing to conduct equal consultations with Taiwan under the one-China framework, and make reasonable arrangements," Xi said.

"We respect the social system and way of living chosen by Taiwan compatriots, and would also like to share the opportunities brought by the mainland's development with Taiwan compatriots first," he said.

Wang Hailiang, a researcher at the Taiwan Research Institute in Shanghai, said Xi's remarks hinted that Beijing recognises the existence of a different social system in Taiwan, which helps dismiss concern harboured by pro-independence parties in Taiwan.

"The mainland would not stop exchanges with Taiwan because of such differences. Instead, Xi's words assured the Democratic Progressive Party that Beijing is willing to promote peaceful development with the whole island," he said.

At Tuesday's meeting, Lien underscored the "1992 Consensus" and the one-China framework, saying cross-Straits relations are not "international" or state-to-state relations.

"Since 2005, the two parties have resumed harmonious dialogue as long anticipated. After that, we have framed a series of policies to promote peaceful development of cross-Straits ties, which is a right and irreversible path," Lien said.

"During the process of improvement, a peaceful political environment will emerge and the peace dividend will bring further happiness to people on both sides," he added.

The meeting between Xi and Lien came one week after a historic meeting between Zhang Zhijun, head of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office and his Taiwan counterpart Wang Yu-chi in Nanjing.

During what was the first formal official meeting since 1949, both sides agreed to open a regular communication channel between their departments.

Ni Yongjie, an expert on Taiwan studies in Shanghai, said Lien's exchange of views with mainland leaders will help enhance mutual trust and "the good momentum will generate further possibilities for the quality development of cross-Straits relations, for example the meetings between leaders".

Lien and an 80-strong delegation arrived in Beijing on Monday for a four-day mainland trip, his 15th trip in the past nine years.

Zhang Hua, a researcher of Taiwan studies with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that as an old friend of the mainland and one of the most keen promoters of cross-Straits relations, Lien has been using his political influence in Taiwan to call for political talks between the sides.

Mo Jingxi and Xinhua contributed to this story.


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