Hu meets Chiang, hails cross-Strait talks

Updated: 2008-06-13 19:29

General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with Chiang Pin-kun, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), in Beijing June 13, 2008. [Xinhua]

BEIJING - Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, met Taiwan's chief negotiator Chiang Pin-kun here on Friday afternoon, saying the resumption of talks between ARATS and SEF and achievements of the talks marked a good beginning for the improvement and development of mainland-Taiwan relations in the new situation.

Chiang, chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), was in Beijing for talks with the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS). The two organizations resumed talks after a nine-year suspension.

"The resumption of talks between the ARATS and SEF on the basis of the '1992 Consensus' and practical achievements of the talks signal a good start for the improvement and development of cross-Strait relations in the new situation," Hu said, calling the resumption of talks after nine years "a big event" in the development of cross-Strait relations.

He said the resumption of meetings between the ARATS and SEF showed that the two sides across the Taiwan Strait had wisdom and were capable of overcoming problems through talks and negotiations.

On Friday morning, the ARATS and SEF signed two agreements on weekend chartered flights and mainland tourists' travel to Taiwan.

Hu said implementation of the two agreements would help to enhance visits and exchanges between Chinese compatriots across the Strait and would contribute to the realization of direct links for mail, trade and transport services between the mainland and Taiwan and contribute to mutually beneficial cooperation across the Strait.

Hu said the Chinese nation has the hard-won opportunity for revitalization, and mainland-Taiwan relations have a great opportunity to develop.

He urged the two sides to join hands to grasp such opportunities to overcome problems and improve cross-Strait relations through talks and negotiations, saying: "There is no better time to do so."

"Many countries or nations have managed to settle differences and contradictions and engage in cooperation with other countries or nations successfully. We Chinese compatriots on both sides of the Strait belong to the same family, thus we have more reason to do so and do it better," Hu said.

"Both sides have agreed to the proposition of building mutual trust, laying aside disputes, seeking consensus and shelving differences, and creating a win-win situation across the Strait. We should stick to this policy during meetings between the ARATS and SEF," Hu said.

He called on the two organizations to treat each other as equals during the talks, and not to impose one side's will on the other side.

He urged the two sides to take into consideration each other's standing on issues under discussion in a well-intended manner and seek solutions that can be accepted by both sides in order to advance negotiations and score more positive progress.

Chiang said that the talks and their achievements "opened a new page" in mainland-Taiwan relations, expressing confidence that cross-Strait relations would enter a virtuous circle of cooperation and mutual benefits.

He said people across the Taiwan Strait all belong to the Chinese nation. With changes taking place in Taiwan's political situation, it is necessary for both sides to resume talks on the basis of the "1992 Consensus".

"With efforts of the two sides, mainland-Taiwan relations surely could have a fresh start and enter a virtuous circle of cooperation and mutual benefits," he said.

Chiang also called for economic integration across the Strait.

Hu said there are still many more issues for the two sides to settle, and he urged the ARATS and SEF to make plans for topics and agendas of future talks.

The two organizations should assist relevant authorities in expanding exchanges and helping solve problems, he said.

During the meeting, Chiang conveyed condolences to the people killed in the 8.0-magnitude earthquake in Sichuan Province on May 12 and said Taiwan hoped to help with reconstruction work in the quake zones.

Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee, and ARATS chairman Chen Yunlin attended the meeting.

According to the agreements reached in the talks between ARATS and SEF, weekend chartered flights across the Strait will formally start on July 4 from Friday to next Monday.
The first group of mainland tourists will visit Taiwan on July 4. The official launch date is set for July 18.

The two sides also agreed to continue negotiations over several key topics, including direct flight routes, air traffic control system coordination, regular scheduled flights and chartered cargo flights.
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