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China Focus: Mainland shows determination, goodwill in cross-Strait relations

(Xinhua)    09:18, March 09, 2016

TAIPEI, March 7-- A clear message was sent out from the top legislature's annual session that the Chinese mainland has strong determination and sufficient goodwill in the development of relations across the Taiwan Strait.

A report delivered by Premier Li KeqiangSaturday said the mainland will continue to adhere to the 1992 Consensus as the political foundation for cross-Strait ties and will promote exchanges in diverse fields with Taiwan compatriots.

Later that day, President Xi Jinpingexpounded on the mainland's firm stance when joining a group of lawmakers from Shanghai.


"Only by accepting the 1992 Consensus and recognizing its core implications can the two sides have a common political foundation and maintain good interaction," Xi said.

The 1992 Consensus clearly defines the nature of cross-Strait ties, and is the basis for the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties in the long run.

Tsai Ing-wen of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), who won Taiwan's leadership election in January, remains ambiguous about her stance on the 1992 Consensus, just stating that she wishes to "maintain the status quo."

Chang Wu-yueh, head of the graduate institute of China studies at Taiwan's Tamkang University, said that Xi's words reiterated the significance of the 1992 Consensus in the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations

"Without this foundation, it will be extremely hard to maintain the status quo. Meanwhile, the mainland has steadfast determination to address the issue of 'Taiwan independence'," Chang said.

In his speech, Xi vowed to resolutely contain "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities in any form, safeguard sovereignty and territorial integrity and never allow the historical tragedy of national secession to happen again.

"Our policy toward Taiwan is clear and consistent, and it will not change along with the change in Taiwan's political situation," Xi told legislators.

Teng Che-wei, head of the Taipei-based non-governmental organization Cross-Strait Public Affairs Association, said that neither side of Taiwan Strait should sabotage the common foundation, or else exchanges across the Strait will suffer.

"Tsai has been emphasizing the status quo, but status quo cannot be grown in the air. There must be concrete measures to maintain it," Teng said.


Xi also said the Chinese mainland will further promote cross-Strait cooperation and exchanges in all fields, deepen economic and social integration, and enhance the sense of a community of common destiny.

The peaceful development of cross-Strait ties needs not only high-level interactions, but also mutual understanding and mutually beneficial exchanges at the grassroots level, according to Chang.

"The mainland hopes that bonds between people on both sides of the Strait are not influenced by political divergence and exchanges in all aspects can continue to improve," he said.

Micky Chen, chairman of the Management Institute in Taipei, said economic and trade exchanges between two sides of the Strait showed strong momentum in recent years and are still moving forward.

Last year, tourists from the mainland accounted for 40 percent in total tourists to Taiwan. The mainland is also Taiwan's largest destination of investment and export.

"In recent years, the economic and trade ties is becoming more and more intertwined with other facets of cross-Strait relations, including educational and cultural exchanges," according to Chen.

Xi said the results of the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties should be safeguarded by compatriots from both sides.

A latest achievement of cross-Strait ties is the return of the head of a 1460-year-old marble Buddha statue back to the mainland 20 years after being stolen.

In 1996, the statue's head was chopped off and disappeared from a tower in north China's Hebei Province. In 2014, a follower in Taiwan bought the statue's head at auction and donated it to Master Hsing Yun, founder of the Fo Guang Shan Monastery in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan.

Hsing Yun decided to reunite the head and the body, and escorted the statue's head to Beijing late last month himself.

The head of a Buddha statue can be chopped off, but the spirit of the Buddha cannot. It's just like the cross-Strait ties, Hsing Yun said.

"The sea can not sever our historical bond, nor can it cut off our connection and blood lineage," he said. "The common Chinese cultural traditions can not be chopped off by external forces."

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Ma Xiaochun,Bianji)

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