|Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks at a press conference after the closing meeting of the second annual session of China's 12th National People's Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, March 13, 2014. (Xinhua/Chen Jianli)|
BEIJING, March 13 -- Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday called for new progress in relations between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan.
At a press conference following the conclusion of China's annual parliamentary session, Li said people-to-people exchanges and business cooperation are important components of ties across the Taiwan Strait.
"I hope to see even greater, new progress in cross-Strait ties this year," Li said.
Li said a record 8 million visits were recorded between the mainland and Taiwan last year, adding that he wished such good momentum could be kept in the future.
He also hoped that follow-up talks on implementing the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), a wide-ranging cross-Strait economic pact signed in 2010, could bear fruit earlier, "so that greater benefits can be delivered to people and businesses of both sides."
Li noted that press from both the mainland and Taiwan selected the Chinese character "jin" - or "progress" in English - as their respective word of the year.
"This (selection) shows the trend of peaceful development of cross-Strait ties and represents the common wish of people on both sides," Li said.