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Mainland extends Lunar New Year greetings to Taiwan, hoping for closer ties
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19:01, January 23, 2009

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A senior Chinese mainland official on Taiwan affairs called for closer cross-Straits ties Friday in his Lunar New Year greetings to people on the island.

"We sincerely hope that the two sides of the Taiwan Straits could improve well-meaning communication, continue to achieve consensus and keep the momentum of positive interaction to improve cross-Straits ties," Wang Yi, director of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office said.

Cross-Straits relations started to ease last year. Last June, the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the island's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) resumed talks, which had been suspended for almost 10 years. The second round of talks was held in Taiwan in November.

On Dec. 15, the mainland and Taiwan started direct air and sea transport and postal services, ending a 59-year ban on such links.

On Dec. 31, the mainland held a grand ceremony to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the mainland's "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan", at which Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, offered six proposals to promote the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, including the proposal that the two sides end hostility and reach peaceful agreements under the one China principle.

Hu also said the mainland is willing to discuss with Taiwan proper and reasonable arrangements for Taiwan's participation in international organizations, as long as this does not create a scenario of "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan".

Wang said Hu's speech pointed out the direction for the development of cross-Straits relationship and showed the mainland's determination and sincerity to work for the benefit of compatriots across the Straits, regional peace and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

He said 2008 was a milestone in cross-Straits relations. "During that year, the situation in Taiwan showed positive changes. Clouds over the Straits cleared, and after gloom comes brightness."

He continued, the two sides grasped the "hard-won" opportunities and pushed for the peaceful development of cross-Straits ties.

He said the mainland and Taiwan should deepen industrial cooperation and start financial cooperation to overcome the impact of the financial crisis and push for the normalization of cross-Straits economic ties.

He also expressed the hope that compatriots across the Straits would further enhance exchanges and understanding to jointly form "a strong impetus" for the peaceful development of cross-Straits ties.

"We know that the road ahead is not smooth ... but we believe that Chinese people on both sides of the Straits have the wisdom and ability to have the future of cross-Straits relations in (our) own hands and to jointly push for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," he said.

The Chinese Lunar New Year falls on Jan. 26 this year.

Source: Xinhua

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