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April 10 meeting a milestone in cross-Strait relations

By Betty Yuan | China Daily Global | Updated: 2024-04-18 09:14
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The Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taipei. [Photo/Xinhua]

For compatriots who have long been participating in the process of peaceful reunification of the two sides across the Taiwan Strait, April 10 is a day of great significance in the history of cross-Strait relations.

I felt very inspired and excited on seeing the meeting between Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, and former chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang party, Ma Ying-jeou, in Beijing.

My memory flashed back to Nov 7, 2015, when the two met in Singapore. I believe the friendly exchanges that took place nine years ago have played a role in making another meeting happen again — a more important, eye-catching and much-needed one for the sake of healthy development of cross-Strait relations.

To bring cross-Strait relations back to normal requires vision, painstaking efforts, leadership and a strong sense of responsibility. I definitely see the resolve and devotion in Xi when it comes to handling the Taiwan question. As always, I have strong faith in him.

In 2023, Ma led a group of young Taiwanese to visit the mainland, after stepping down from the Kuomintang party (KMT) and government posts. As a former leader of the Taiwan island, Ma seems to have chosen his way to contribute to the great cause of peaceful reunification.

Regarding the Xi and Ma meeting on April 10, I believe there are several breakthroughs that are worthy of recognition and further discussion.

First and foremost, this is the first time that the Chinese mainland hosted a meeting between its incumbent leader and a former Taiwan leader on Chinese mainland territory. Take another look at the meeting venue where the two sides sat, exchanging greetings while facing each other across the table. Didn't the table look like the Taiwan Strait — shallow and narrow, that can be easily crossed?

Secondly, the meeting highlighted the importance and necessity for both sides to adhere to the 1992 Consensus, the one-China principle, and oppose "Taiwan Independence".

Xi spent a lot of time during the meeting talking about how the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to the Chinese nation. Moreover, he stressed that people on both sides of the Strait share the same bloodline, culture and history.

Very encouragingly, Ma reiterated his pledge to the 1992 Consensus, and urged the young generation in Taiwan to understand their China roots and respect the Chinese tradition. In my opinion, to create a sense of common identity and belonging is crucial for compatriots on both sides. We need to continue dialogues and exchanges of this kind to achieve better understanding. Ultimately, we need to all feel proud of being Chinese, and are willing to be part of the great cause of peaceful reunification.

Thirdly, I am confident that this 11-day trip to the mainland and experiences along the way will have a far-reaching impact on the minds of the 20 young Taiwanese. They saw the spectacular scenic spots, joined the solemn ceremony to honor ancestor Yellow Huangdi, met amiable compatriots in different places, tasted the goodwill and kindness … all the eye-openers and firsthand impressions will help shape and refine their perspectives, and make them think about the cross-Strait relationship. Just like Xi has hoped, "young people from both sides will learn from each other, enjoy each other's company, and walk with one heart with each other, taking the baton passed on to them by history and contributing to the realization of national rejuvenation".

Ma Ying-jeou said he believed in Sun Yat-sen and his Three Principles of the People, so he must be familiar with Sun's saying of "The country must be unified and the nation can be revived". Although there will be difficulties and obstacles, Ma is expected to shoulder the historic responsibility and undertake the national mission of peaceful reunification.

The author is Founding Member of the Chinese Peaceful Unification of Northern California.

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