Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), on Monday called for a peace agreement with Taiwan under the one-China principle.
"We would like to make a solemn appeal: On the basis of the one-China principle, let us discuss a formal end to the state of hostility between the two sides, reach a peace agreement, construct a framework for peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, and thus usher in a new phase of peaceful development," Hu said in a report to the 17th National Congress of the CPC.
It is the first time that the CPC has officially called for a peace agreement between the two sides in its political report. But Hu did raise the issue with Lien Chan, former chairman of Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang, when Lien visited the mainland in 2005.
Hu warned on Monday that the forces of "Taiwan independence" are stepping up secessionist activities, seriously jeopardizing cross-Straits ties.
Beijing has condemned Taipei's recent push for a referendum on pursuing UN membership under the name Taiwan.
The island move is considered a move toward de jure "independence".
The mainland is ready to hold exchanges, dialogue, consultations and negotiations with any political party in Taiwan on any issue as long as it recognizes that both sides of the Straits belong to one and the same China, Hu told the delegates to the congress.
He also vowed to make every effort with the utmost sincerity to achieve peaceful reunification. "We will never allow anyone to separate Taiwan from the motherland in any name, or by any means."
Stressing that it is a common aspiration of all Chinese people to resolve the Taiwan question and achieve national reunification, Hu also reiterated that the country will never waver in commitment to the one-China principle and never compromise in opposition to the secessionist activities aimed at "Taiwan independence".
Hu pledged that the Party will sincerely work for the well-being of compatriots on both mainland and Taiwan and for cross-Straits peace, and safeguard China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation.
Specifically, the mainland will continue to implement and enrich policies and measures that benefit Taiwan compatriots, Hu said.
There are currently about 1.3 million Taiwan people living or working on the mainland, according to official figures.
Taiwan compatriots living on the mainland hailed Hu's proposal.
"I hope the Taiwan authorities respond actively to Hu's call, which shows the utmost sincerity, and push the relationship forward through further communication and exchanges," said Lin Yifu, who was born in Taiwan and is one of the leading economists on the mainland.
"As a Taiwan compatriot, I hope Taiwan can be reunified peacefully with the motherland as soon as possible," Lin said.