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Cross-Strait hostilities fading away


14:04, June 19, 2013

XIAMEN, June 19 (Xinhua) - Taiwanese woman Huang Liang-yuh never thought she would meet her Mr Right during a trip to the mainland. But in 2009 she married a man from central mainland's Henan Province, and settled down in Kaohsiung in Taiwan.

Accompanied with her three-year-old daughter at the fifth Straits Forum held over the weekend in the coastal city of Xiamen, in southeast mainland's Fujian Province, Huang said her family is considering moving across the Strait to the mainland.

The Taiwan Strait has a width of 410 kilometers in the south and 200 kilometers in the north, with an average water depth of 60 meters, geographically blocking the two sides since ancient time.

In 1949, communication was broken off between the two sides, after the Kuomintang (KMT) lost a civil war with the Communist Party of China and fled to Taiwan, since when personnel exchanges were cut off.

Not until 1987 did the Taiwan authorities permit military veterans to visit their relatives on the mainland, terminating 38 years of estrangement between the two sides.

However, before May 2008, the situation across the Strait still remained tense and was even on the brink of crisis several times.

Kao Chia-chun, born in the island's Tainan, remembers the atmosphere of cross-Strait relations in the 1990s.

"I served in a combat troop in Taichung. Vacations were all canceled and we slept wearing helmets with guns in hands," said Kao Chia-chun.

Shortly after the end of the crisis, he managed to study traditional Chinese medicine on the mainland, and obtained a doctor degree as well as a professional doctorate certificate.

He was employed as a lecturer in Fujian University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and also became the first Taiwanese graduate to earn a salary paid by the mainland government.

"Local people were amazed when I bought an apartment with public accumulated funds," Kao said, adding that he was also covered by social and medical care insurance.

"With booming grassroots exchanges, my children will be a new generation of Taiwanese, and they will surely have a deeper understanding of cross-Strait integration," Kao added.

According to the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office, more than 10,500 couples married across the Taiwan Strait in 2012, bringing the total number of such couples to 340,000 since 1987. Now in Taiwan, one in every nine newly-wedded couple is a cross-Strait marriage.

The couple of Wang Xiaofei, president of South Beauty, and Taiwanese actress Barbie Hsu stands among them.

Wang shared his story of love with 160 others who also have cross-Strait spouses, at a sub-forum of the fifth Straits Forum on cross-Strait marriage.

Since 2008, when a new generation of KMT leaders adopted mainland-friendly policies, cross-Strait relations have entered sound development, with communications in investment, education and traveling.

In 2012, the total number of visitors from both sides amounted to eight million, according to the mainland figures.

A KMT member Chao Yee, who also teaches in a Shanghai university and needs to visit the mainland nearly every month, benefits from direct flights across the Strait.

"It took 60 years for the two sides to open direct mail, transport and trade links," Chao said, "I hope the cross-Strait relation will be further boosted with comprehensive cooperation."

Cross-Strait exchanges are moving towards a higher level of mutual and normal activities, which will eventually lead to greater social integration of the two sides, said Shi Zhengfang, professor at the Taiwan Research Institute of Xiamen University.

"It is not just the geological distance that has been cut back, but also the feeling of estrangement. One thing is clear that people on the two sides of the Strait, who used to be hostile toward each other, are getting more neutral and positive," she said.

"The 'disappearing' of the Strait will be a long-term process due to much difference in the political systems and social values of the two sides, but we do see the trend being accelerated," she said.

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:ZhangQian、Yao Chun)

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Wende at 2013-06-1998.109.105.*
US is instigating to put Taiwan in more international organizations. First was WHO and now it is inviting Taiwan to join civil aviation. I do not know if this is necessary but be on the look out for US tricks. US has people looking for any openings to destabilize nations that do not heed their biddings, like China.

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