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Path of future cross-Strait relations laid down
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-05-08 23:47

Cross-Straits relations should follow a path of peaceful development and mutually beneficial co-operation to ensure the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, Beijing's top negotiator with Taiwan said yesterday.

James Soong (left), chairman of People First Party from Taiwan, presents a gift to Wang Daohan, president of the the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits, in Shanghai May 8, 2005. [newsphoto]
Wang Daohan, the 90-year-old president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), made the remarks while meeting Taiwan opposition leader James Soong.

Founded on December 16, 1991, ARATS is a semi-official body that deals with cross-Straits relations due to an absence of official contact between Taiwan and the mainland.

People First Party (PFP) Chairman Soong and his 50-member delegation arrived in Shanghai on Saturday on the third leg of their nine-day mainland trip.

Wang told Soong that compatriots across the Straits are all Chinese people who are "as close as flesh and blood."

"There is no enmity (between Chinese across the Straits) that cannot be dissolved, nor prejudice that cannot be thrown away," he said.

The ARATS president stressed that both sides should cherish peace and development and that the revitalization of the Chinese nation is all important.

"While the Chinese nation is on the road to great revitalization, both sides of the Straits ought to maintain peaceful development and win-win co-operation," Wang said.

He made the statements against the background of heightened cross-Straits tensions due to rampant secessionist activities on the island.

To help improve cross-Straits ties, Beijing has stepped up efforts to promote political consultation with Taiwanese parties, including the opposition PFP and Kuomintang (KMT), that uphold the "1992 consensus" and oppose "Taiwan independence."

Soong's arrival in the mainland came in the wake of a historic trip by KMT Chairman Lien Chan from April 26 to May 3.

Wang yesterday spoke highly of the PFP's adherence to the one-China principle, its upholding of the "1992 consensus" and opposition to "Taiwan independence."

In November 1992, officials from ARATS and its Taiwan counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), held preliminary talks in Hong Kong that resulted in the "1992 consensus.".

The consensus, an informal agreement reached orally between ARATS and SEF, states that both sides of the Straits adhere to the one-China principle but with different interpretations.

In April 1993, Wang and Koo Chen-fu, late chairman of the SEF, met in Singapore to hold the first formal discussions between Beijing and Taipei since 1949. In October 1998, they met again in Shanghai.

But the talks broke down in July 1999 when former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui put forward the so-called "two states theory" that defined cross-Straits ties as a state-to-state relationship.

On the resumption of cross-Straits dialogue, Wang said the mainland has always adopted a clear-cut stance, that being the mainland and Taiwan are Chinese territory and both belong to one China.

"We welcome the efforts of any person or political party in Taiwan that acknowledges the one-China principle," Wang said.

During the meeting, Soong said that Taiwan compatriots highly respected Wang for his contribution to peace and development across the Taiwan Straits.

He said he would like to convey the aspirations of Taiwan people for peace and better cross-Straits relations through his meeting with Wang.

In a later speech at a luncheon hosted by mainland-based Taiwanese businesspeople, Soong pledged to strongly oppose de jure independence for the island.

Since his re-election last year, Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party has been forging ahead with plans to hold a referendum for the drafting of a new "constitution" in 2006 and its enactment in 2008.

The PFP will never allow such an attempt to ruin the prospects of cross-Straits reconciliation, Soong said.

The 63-year-old PFP leader arrived in Changsha, capital of Central China's Hunan Province, yesterday afternoon.

He will visit his birthplace Xiangtan today and, along with his 87-year-old mother Hu Tiao-jung, pay his respects at the tombs of his great-grandparents and grandparents.

Soong was born in March 1942 in Juyu Village of Xiangtan County and left for Taiwan in 1949.

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