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Monday's meeting between Communist Party leader Xi Jinping and Lien Chan, honorary chairman of the Kuomintang, has been widely interpreted as a tone-setter for cross-Straits relations.
As Xi's first meeting with a Taiwan delegation in his current position, the meeting has naturally drawn wide attention both at home and overseas.
Xi stressed it is the governing party's duty to carry forward the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and the new leadership is committed to maintaining friendly ties with Taiwan and pursuing reunification of the motherland.
This show of consistency in the Party's policy toward Taiwan will have profound implications for the trajectory of cross-Straits ties in the years to come and consolidate expectations on both sides of the Straits that relations have a promising future.
Xi's remarks that nothing can change the fact that both sides belong to one China demonstrated the Party's resolve to unswervingly uphold the one-China policy, which forms the unshakeable foundation of cross-Straits relations.
Lien, for his part, also stressed the one-China consensus. Given that the 18th Party Congress report points to the necessity of exploring cross-Straits political relations for reunification, it was meaningful for Lien to recommend that both sides shelve their differences so that more constructive cross-Straits ties can flourish.
It would be good if the two parties could begin exploring a feasible political framework under the one-China consensus. That would guarantee both Taiwan and the mainland gain more from their warmer ties.
With mutual trust improving and trade increasing in recent years, both sides of the Straits have benefited. In 2012, a record number of people traveled across the Straits. The mainland increased agricultural and fishery purchases from the island, benefiting local farmers and fishermen. It has also created a series of policies to help Taiwan companies broaden their mainland markets.
Marking an important step for cross-Straits financial cooperation, the People's Bank of China and the Bank of China's Taipei branch launched new Taiwan dollar and yuan business on both sides on Feb 6, which paves the way for the establishment of a cross-Straits monetary settlement mechanism.
Cross-straits relations are continuing to deepen. The two sides have every reason to continue to build on this good momentum and inject new vitality into their relations, as working together for the rejuvenation of the nation is their shared mission.
(China Daily 02/27/2013 page8)