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CPC, KMT leaders vow to end hostility across the Straits
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-30 00:09

Top leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Taiwan opposition Kuomintang (KMT) on Friday met for the first talks of their kind in 60 years and vowed to end cross-Straits hostility and fight "Taiwan independence."

CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with visiting KMT chairman Lien Chan in Beijing April 29, 2005. [newsphoto]
In a ceremony broadcast live to audiences in both the mainland and Taiwan, the CPC Central Committee General Secretary Hu Jintao and KMT Chairman Lien Chan shook hands in the Great Hall of the People.

The landmark meeting "will surely go down in the history of the development of cross-Straits ties," Hu told Lien.

"The historic step not only marks a new stage of development in our party-to-party exchanges but also demonstrates our common determination and sincerity to better cross-Straits relations," he said.

The general secretary called on both parties to join efforts to promote peace, stability and development.

Lien responded: "On the basis of goodwill and trust... we should absolutely avoid confrontation and collision. What we want is conciliation and dialogue."

The 69-year-old leader is the first KMT chairman to set foot on the mainland since 1949 when the party lost a civil war to the CPC and left for Taiwan.

Late CPC Chairman Mao Zedong and late KMT Chairman Chiang Kai-shek once met in August 1945 in Chongqing, the wartime capital of China, in an unsuccessful bid to negotiate a truce.

Lien and his 60-member delegation arrived in Nanjing on Tuesday for the start of an eight-day four-city mainland trip which will also take them to Xi'an and Shanghai.

Following closed-door talks, Hu and Lien issued a joint communique promising to work together to try and end hostilities across the Taiwan Straits.

The two parties should work towards "a formal end to the state of hostility across the Straits, the agreement of a peace treaty and the establishment of a framework for cross-Straits peace and stability," the communique said.

The framework includes the establishment of a mechanism for mutual military trust designed to prevent armed conflict.

The communique also contains the two parties' agreement to adhere to the 1992 Consensus and oppose "Taiwan independence."

The consensus refers to an informal agreement, reached orally between Taiwan and the mainland in November 1992, which states both sides adhere to the one-China principle but with different interpretations.

HISTORIC HANDSHAKE: CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with visiting KMT chairman Lien Chan in Beijing April 29, 2005. Lien is on an 8-day historic mainland visit. He has visited Nanjing and will continue his visit to Xi'an and Shanghai after Beijing. [Xinhua]

The communique also commits the CPC and KMT to discussions on the issue of Taiwan's participation in international activities after the resumption of dialogue across the Straits.

"Priority will be given to discussions on Taiwan's participation in the activities of the World Health Organization," it says.

The island has tried for eight years to join the WHO as an observer, and failed each time.

According to the communique, the two parties also agreed to promote the early resumption of cross-Straits dialogue and strengthen cross-Straits economic and trade exchanges including the sale of Taiwan's agricultural produce to the mainland and the establishment of a common market.

The CPC and KMT also reached a consensus on establishing a mechanism for regular party-to-party exchanges in a bid to develop relations across the Taiwan Straits.

People from all walks of life will be invited to join discussions on the improvement of cross-Straits relations, the communique says.

In a later press conference, Lien urged Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to respect the consensus reached between the KMT and CPC and facilitate its implementation.

"Whether the consensus can be implemented or not depends on whether the authorities are responsible or not," said the KMT chairman while stressing that all topics in the communique concern the immediate interests of the Taiwanese people.

The pro-"independence" DPP administration has attempted to hinder Lien's mainland visit and threatened legal action if he signs an agreement with the CPC.

The European Union said on Friday it hoped talks between Hu and Lien would lead to an easing of tensions between the two sides.

The EU is very keen for there to be a solution to the tensions between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan through dialogue, and dialogue has to start somewhere, said EU spokeswoman Emma Udwin.

"We welcome it. We are watching it, and we hope it will prove to be the first positive step in the right direction."

(China Daily 04/30/2005 page1)

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