Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Political trust across Straits

By Li Zhenguang (China Daily) Updated: 2014-06-30 07:43

Visit to the island by top official for mainland Taiwan affairs has been fruitful and will facilitate further contact and cooperation

Though some "pro-independence" protesters disrupted the last day of his trip, Zhang Zhijun's first-ever visit to Taiwan as the mainland's head of Taiwan affairs remains a milestone in cross-Straits ties.

During his tightly scheduled four-day visit to Taiwan, Zhang not only met politicians such as the mayors of New Taipei City, Taichung and Kaohsiung, but also communicated with many other people from all walks of life, such as the influential monk Master Hsing Yun, students, grassroots officials. Many strong signals have been released highlighting the symbolic significance of this fruitful visit.

As a return visit at the invitation of Wang Yu-chi, Zhang's counterpart in Taiwan, who visited the mainland on February, Zhang's visit to Taiwan indicates that a regular exchange mechanism has been formally established and mutually recognized on both sides of the Straits. This mechanism will further advance the mutual political trust between the ruling Communist Party of China on the mainland and Kuomintang in Taiwan.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic and Cooperation sumit in Bali, Indonesia, in October last year, President Xi Jinping proposed to deepen mutual political trust and the exchange of opinions on the cross-Straits relationship in a meeting with Vincent Siew, honorary chairman of the Taiwan-based Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation. Inspired by this conversation, both the mainland's State Council Taiwan Affairs Office and Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council have quickened the pace of boosting communication.

The timing of Zhang's visit was appropriate, because it avoided most of the sensitive political events, the protests in Taiwan against the Cross-Straits Service Trade Agreement have subsided and more rational voices calling for cooperation have been heard and this year's local elections in Taiwan do not begin until November 29.

Taiwan has a highly politicized society that worships elections, and its people differ immensely in their opinions. Hence in his meeting with Chen Chu, mayor of Kaohsiung city in southern Taiwan on Friday, Zhang specially emphasized that the mainland fully understands the differences in social systems, values, and lifestyles across the Straits, and it will show consistent respect for Taiwan people's choices.

This meeting, the second between Zhang and Wang this year, also witnessed more practical and direct exchanges between the two officials as various topics such as deepening cross-Straits economic cooperation were discussed, which reflects great efficiency and a new approach to resolving cross-Straits issues.

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