China / HK Macao Taiwan

We can share our tears and joys as one family

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-11-08 11:30

The handshake between Xi Jinping and Ma Yingjeou in Singapore on Saturday lasted one minute and 10 seconds. They met as "leaders of the two sides" of the Taiwan Straits and vowed to promote peaceful cross-Straits relations. This is history in the making.

The Xi-­Ma meeting is the result of the political wis­dom demonstrated by both sides and practical cross­-Straits arrangements based on the one-­China principle. Needless to say, this is a major break­ through in high­ level political exchange across the Straits, which will have a far-­reaching impact on cross-­Straits relations.

Relations between the mainland and Taiwan have not been ideal for 66 years since the Kuomintang for­ ces, led by Chiang Kai­shek, fled to Taiwan in 1949 aft­ er the civil war. The two sides were mired in sharp political differences and military standoffs until the late 1980s, when they moved to end their mutual iso­lation.

The hard­-won meeting between Xi and Ma acquires importance as much for its historic nature as for the long separation it has ended.

The leaders of the two sides have not failed people on any side of the Straits. Their shared vision in establishing permanent peace across the Straits and contributing to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is a blessing for both sides and the world at large.

"No force can pull apart the two sides across the Straits which are 'one family'," Xi said in his opening remark before a closed­-door meeting with Ma. "We are sitting together today to prevent the historical tragedy from repeating itself, prevent the fruits of the peaceful development of cross­Straits ties from being lost again, enable compatriots across the Straits to continue to create a peaceful life, and enable our next generations to share a bright future," Xi said.

Ma, on his part, said both sides should abide by the 1992 Consensus (that there is only one China) and maintain the peaceful status quo. He suggested the two sides reduce hostilities and resolve disputes through peaceful means while expanding cross­ Straits exchanges, in a bid to achieve win­win out­ comes.

These insightful observations and suggestions will pave the way for more healthy and prosperous inter­ actions between the two sides, and will help establish lasting peace and stability across the Straits.

The Xi­-Ma meeting is also the result of the impress­ ive achievements made during the past seven years of cross­-Straits cooperation, characterized by continu­ous easing of tensions and brisk exchanges in various fields, including trade and common interests.

Through consultations between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation, 23 agree­ ments have been signed over the years, covering mainly trade, transit and investment, to help solve a range of issues that are closely related to the interests of the people on both sides.

Cross­-Straits economic cooperation has deepened, and the "three direct links" of trade, transport and postal services have resumed, facilitating communi­ cation and exchanges.

As Xi said in Singapore, despite all these positive outcomes, however, cross-­Straits relations are at a crossroad. The need, therefore, is to choose the path and direction for the development of cross-­Straits relations. Obviously, the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation hinges on the two sides' wisdom and capability to solve the problems.

We have come through thick and thin. We are still connected by flesh and blood. And we believe that we can share our tears and happiness as "one family" and jointly contribute to world peace and development.

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