CHINA> National
Hu proposes cross-Straits military ties
By Wu Jiao (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-01-01 08:32

President Hu Jintao proposed on Wednesday that the mainland and Taiwan "engage in contacts and exchanges on military issues at a proper time", and explore the setting up of a mutual military trust system.

Photo taken on Dec. 31, 2008 shows a ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the announcement of Message to Compatriots in Taiwan held in Beijing, capital of China. The Chinese mainland commemorated the 30th anniversary of the announcement of Message to Compatriots in Taiwan here Wednesday with a ceremony attended by three top leaders including President Hu Jintao. [Xinhua]

This will stabilize the situation across the Taiwan Straits and ease worries over military security, he said.

He also proposed ending hostilities across the Straits by signing a peace agreement.

His unprecedented gesture came in a speech marking the 30th anniversary of the "message to Taiwan compatriots" and after the "positive changes" of 2008, which included the launch of direct transport and postal links between the two sides.

The National People's Congress Standing Committee issued the message on Jan 1, 1979, making it the mainland's first proposal to end military confrontation across the Straits through dialogue and exchanges between the two sides.

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Hu said: "People on both sides of the Straits share the responsibility of ending the history of confrontation."

The mainland is willing to discuss proper and reasonable arrangements for the island's participation in international organizations as long as it does not create the impression that there are "two Chinas" or "one China and one Taiwan".

Though the two sides have developed different political systems after 1949, the fact remains that they are part of one China, he said.

"Under the common understanding of one China, the two sides can talk about anything.

"We will promote anything that is conducive to peaceful development across the Straits. And we will firmly oppose anything that harms it," he said.

For the first time, Hu appealed directly to Taiwan's opposition party to give up its separatist stance. If the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) gives up its "separatist activities" and "changes its attitude", it would get a "positive response", Hu said.

Hu's remarks set the tone

People and parties who have advocated and been involved in secessionist activities are welcome to return to the right path of peaceful reunification, he said.

Hu's other proposals are:

Adhering to the one-China policy and promoting mutual political trust.

Negotiating a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement to set up a collaboration mechanism with special cross-Straits characteristics, which is complementary and mutually beneficial to both sides.

Promoting the common cultural heritage of people on both sides of the Straits.

Increasing communication and exchange in all fields. The mainland will respond actively to constructive proposals from the island conducive to peaceful development of cross-Straits ties.

Sun Shengliang, a researcher in cross-Straits ties with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Hu's remarks set the tone for the mainland's Taiwan affairs.

"His proposals are based on the new cross-Straits situation, and they take into account the concerns of Taiwan compatriots."

The proposals on military exchanges, economic cooperation mechanism and the DPP reflect the mainland's positive attitude, he said.

"The suggestions show Beijing's new mindset on cross-Straits development and will ensure that new breakthroughs are achieved," he said.