Trade pact helps boost cross-Straits ties

08:20, July 13, 2010      

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Hu Jintao(R), General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, meets with Kuomintang (KMT) Party honorary chairman Wu Poh-hsiung in Beijing, capital of China, July 12, 2010. (Xinhua Photo)

Top Chinese mainland and Taiwan leaders have expressed their latest confidence in the peaceful development of cross-Straits ties, following the signing of a historic trade pact.

Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, said on Monday that the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed last month was an important achievement in the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Straits and a sign that economic and trade ties have entered a new stage.

Hu said the ECFA was in line with the interests of people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits and the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation.

He also said he hopes that the cross-Straits trade pact will take effect as soon as possible to bring practical benefits to people from both sides.

Hu met Wu Poh-hsiung, honorary chairman of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party, on Monday afternoon in Beijing.

It was the third meeting between the two leaders since 2008, when the KMT became the ruling party in Taiwan.

Hu said both sides should continue to push for normal cross-Straits economic ties.

Wu brought Hu greetings from Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, also chairman of KMT, and a message.

The message, which was condensed into 16 Chinese characters, read: "Looking into realities, overcoming differences and seeking common ground; accumulating mutual trust and further creating win-win situations."

Wu said Ma is confident of the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, and he believed that Taiwan will complete the legislative review of the ECFA before August and start implementing it as soon as possible.

Li Jiaquan, a senior researcher with the institute of Taiwan studies affiliated to the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said it was notable that both Hu and Ma extended greetings during the meeting, which was rarely seen before.

"It creates a good atmosphere ... and also matches the current trend of cross-Straits relations. I believe there is profound meaning behind the greetings," he said.

But he said time is still not ripe for talks on political and military issues.

"Both sides need to consolidate what has been achieved and firmly hold onto the right direction, as well as take their time to move forward step by step," he said.

The ECFA, a landmark trade pact signed on June 29, is a wide-ranging agreement that will reduce tariffs on hundreds of petrochemical, textile and other items.

It also opens service sectors such as banking to cross-Straits investment, aiming to bind the two economies closer.

The agreement must be approved by Taiwan's "parliament", which has convened a special summer session to review it.

But the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party is trying to block the pact from being passed, calling it a deal that will make Taiwan's economy more dependent on the mainland and strengthen Beijing's control over the island.

Source:China Daily


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