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PFP chief calls for cross-Straits unity
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-08 23:32

People First Party (PFP) Chairman James Soong paid homage to Dr Sun Yat-sen on Saturday morning in Nanjing, calling for cross-Straits unity to create common prosperity for people on both sides.

"It has been my long-cherished wish to pay my highest respects at the mausoleum of Sun, the founder of the Kuomintang party (KMT)," said Soong, who was a member of the KMT until 2000.

The PFP chairman and his 50-member delegation held a service in memory of Sun, who died on March 12, 1925, and was interred in the mausoleum on June 1, 1929.

Following the ceremony, Soong delivered a speech calling on both sides of the Straits to carry forward the spirit of Sun.

"The spirit of Dr Sun is immortal. Who but people of our generation can shoulder his ideal of strengthening the Chinese nation and enriching the Chinese people," the 63-year-old leader said.

His address won loud applause from thousands of tourists and well-wishers who held aloft banners reading "Peace in invaluable" and "Love our Chinese nation."

Citing Sun's hope for solidarity among all Chinese people, Soong stressed that it was a historical trend that people from both sides of the Straits be united once again.

"All Chinese descendants across the Straits should know both sides should work for their common prosperity," he said."

"We brothers on both sides should work harder to achieve the reunification of the Chinese nation."

Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, was the second stop on Soong's nine-day mainland trip. The PFP chairman lived with his father Soong Ta, who served in the KMT armed forces, in Nanjing between 1945 and 1948. His family left the mainland for Taiwan in 1949, when the KMT was defeated by the Communist Party of China (CPC) in a civil war.

He arrived in Shanghai on Saturday afternoon in the hopes of learning more about China's business hub and strengthening cross-Straits economic ties.

Soong told the welcoming party at the airport that his delegation aimed to learn in about the mainland's reform and opening up in the city, as well as the expectations for "three links" across the Straits from Taiwan businesspeople and the potential of China's future development.

Soong said he was greatly impressed by the many plants and modern construction projects in the city, adding that they were a major indicator of the mainland's exciting future.

During a later meeting with Soong, Secretary of the CPC Shanghai Municipal Committee Chen Liangyu hailed the great contribution of Taiwanese businesspeople to Shanghai's economic development.

He said many Taiwan compatriots have invested, run businesses, studied or bought houses in Shanghai, now a hot spot for cross-Straits economic co-operation and exchanges.

"Shanghai's achievements incorporate Taiwan compatriots' wisdom and hard work," Chen said.

"As long as it is beneficial to Taiwan compatriots, we will do our best in the improvement of cross-Straits exchanges, the peace and stability of the Taiwan Straits and the promotion of China's peaceful reunification."

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