Lien accepts invitation to visit mainland
Hopes of improved cross-Straits relations received a further boost yesterday when Beijing extended an official invitation to Taiwan-based Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan and Lien accepted the invitation.
Jia Qinglin, a Standing Committee member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, offered the formal invitation just one day before the KMT delegation completes April 1 its first official mainland visit in 56 years.
At a press conference in Tokyo Friday, Lien described his upcoming visit
to the mainland as a "trip of peace" across the Taiwan Strait.
"As Chairman Lien has expressed his intention to visit the mainland, we welcome and invite him to visit at any time he thinks appropriate," Jia, also chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, China's top political advisory body, said while meeting the KMT delegation in the Great Hall of the People.
He added the chairmen of other political parties in Taiwan that accept the 1992 Consensus, oppose "Taiwan independence" and support the development of cross-Straits ties, are also welcome to visit the mainland.
The high-profile move was apparently aimed at boosting Beijing's political consultation with Taiwan's main opposition parties, including the KMT and the People First Party (PFP).
Taiwanese media have long speculated that both Lien and PFP Chairman James Soong have plans to visit the mainland.
On Wednesday, KMT delegation spokesman Chang Jung-kung said the KMT will push for Lien's mainland trip, but the visit has yet to be timetabled.
Jia hailed Chiang's visit as the opening of a KMT-CPC dialogue.
"(Your visit) opens party-to-party dialogue between our two parties for the first time in more than 50 years. It has important significance. This is a major event in cross-Straits relations," Jia told the delegation.
During the meeting, the senior CPC leader also warned that the fight against secessionist forces and their secessionist activities remains grim and complicated.
The intensified push for "independence" by Taiwanese secessionists forces, he warned, risked creating persistently tense and volatile cross-Straits relations and even threatened to bring the situation to the brink of danger.
Jia urged the resumption of cross-Straits negotiation on the basis of the 1992 Consensus.
Jia stressed that although the two sides of the Taiwan Straits are yet to be reunified, the fact that both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China remains unchanged.
"This is the cross-Straits status quo, which is not only recognized by us, but is also evident in the existing stipulations and documents in Taiwan," he said.
In an earlier meeting with the KMT delegation, State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan pledged pragmatic measures and concrete steps to push for closer cross-Straits economic exchanges and co-operation.
"Such exchanges are of significance to enhancing mutual understanding, promoting mutual benefit and developing cross-Straits relations," Tang said.
To forge closer cross-Straits economic ties, he noted, some new preferential policies and measures will be introduced.
During the meetings, Chiang agreed that cross-Straits economic and trade ties could be helpful in easing tensions, resolving the contradictions between the two sides, and enhancing the competitiveness of Taiwan's economy.
The KMT leader urged for a pragmatic attitude in strengthening economic and trade exchanges and people-to-people exchanges across the Straits.
On Wednesday, the KMT group discussed a wide range of issues concerning cross-Straits economic exchanges with officials from related mainland departments.
Yesterday morning, the KMT delegation paid homage at the cenotaph of Sun Yat-sen, the KMT founder and a pioneer of the Chinese Democratic Revolution, in Beijing's Biyun (Blue Cloud) Temple.
Sun died on March 12, 1925 and his remains stayed for four years in the temple at the foot of Xiangshan Mountains before being buried in Nanjing's Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum on June 1, 1929.
(China Daily 04/01/2005 page1)