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Chief of island's mainland affairs seeks 'peaceful coexistence'

By Zhao Shengnan in Nanjing and Pu Zhendong in Beijing | China Daily | Updated: 2014-02-13 07:09

Twenty-four years ago, Wang Yu-chi, a law school junior at National Taiwan University and member of the school's debating team, heatedly argued with opponents from Nanjing University on whether "peaceful coexistence of mankind is a possible ideal".

"We need to pursue survival, be realistic and have our feet planted firmly on the ground," he said on the "con" side in the final of a 1990 Asian varsities debate in Singapore. In the end, his team won.

But on Wednesday, Wang - now Taiwan's mainland affairs chief - was telling a different story to Nanjing University students.

"In 2012, when I took the position as the chief in charge of mainland affairs, my mission was to seek possibilities for the peaceful coexistence between the two sides across the Straits," Wang said during an afternoon speech at Nanjing University Business School. The title of the speech, Sincerity Inspiring the World, is a quote from the university's anthem.

"Consequently, my visit this time is aimed at proving that peaceful coexistence of mankind is certainly an ideal that can be accomplished," he said. "Peace can be achieved through hard efforts."

In the 30-minute speech, Wang also promised to improve Taiwan's medical services for students from the mainland and encouraged exchanges between young people across the Taiwan Straits.

"As long as we are passionate and sincere enough to face the differences, we will certainly build a consensus, bridge historic estrangement and discover cooperation opportunities," Wang said.

The further development of cross-Straits ties relies on the young generations' joint efforts. Without historical burdens, they are able to have a more-pragmatic attitude as well as greater tolerance and wisdom, Wang said.

Shu Mu, a senior majoring in international relations, was among the more than 200 attentive listeners. The 22-year-old said Wang thoroughly introduced Taiwan's society, politics, economy and culture, which enriched the students' understanding of the island.

"The two sides have many deep-level differences apart from the obvious political issues," Shu said. "To solve those problems calls for not only high-level communication, but also a boost of social exchanges to build trust and consensus."

Shu, who spent a semester in Taiwan in 2011 on an exchange program, said he is applying to universities in Taiwan to pursue his master's degree.

Wang's speech followed his historic meeting on Tuesday with Zhang Zhijun, head of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province. It marked the first formal meeting between the two sides' chiefs of cross-Straits affairs since 1949, when the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, lost the civil war and fled to Taiwan.

The two-hour meeting saw the two sides agree to open a regular communication channel between their departments. Zhang also accepted Wang's invitation to visit Taiwan.

On Wednesday morning, Wang also paid tribute at the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen. Sun, a founder of the Kuomintang, is considered a renowned statesman who led the revolution that overthrew the imperial Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and ended China's 2,000-year feudal monarchy.

Wang bowed to Sun's statue in the mausoleum and presented a wreath before paying tribute to Sun's sarcophagus.

After the mausoleum visit, Wang said that since 2008, regular talks and closer cooperation based on the 1992 Consensus have promoted peace and stability in the region.

On Wednesday, Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, also hailed Sun as "the great pioneer of China's democratic revolution who unveiled the country's unprecedented social transformation".

"People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits should live up to Sun's legacy and jointly realize the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," Ma said.

Wang arrived in Nanjing on Tuesday. He is scheduled to visit Shanghai on Thursday and conclude the trip on Friday.

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Chief of island's mainland affairs seeks 'peaceful coexistence'

Wang Yu-chi (left), Taiwan's mainland affairs chief, tours the Mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, on Wednesday. The Chinese characters in the background - tiandi zhengqi, meaning righteousness between heaven and earth - show the ideas Sun fought for. Feng Yongbin / China Daily


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