China’s new Communist Party leaders have a duty to seek peaceful reunification with Taiwan and promote better ties, General Secretary Xi Jinping said in a meeting with the honorary chairman of the island’s ruling party.
Xi’s comments to the Kuomintang’s Lien Chan came yesterday during his first publicly announced meeting on cross-strait issues since taking over the leadership of the China’s ruling party. He pledged to “unswervingly” uphold the one-China principle, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
“If the brothers are of the same mind, their sharpness can cut through metal,” Xi said in Beijing, according to the Xinhua report.
Lien’s trip, which President Ma Ying-jeou said was aimed at boosting cross-strait communications, follows a visit last year by Kuomintang honorary chairman Wu Poh-hsiung, who met with Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Lien will meet China President Hu Jintao today, according to Kuo Su-chun, a Kuomintang legislator.
Li Jia-fei, a presidential spokeswoman, said on Feb. 22 that closer communication with the mainland is a priority for Ma’s administration. Ma, who is the also chairman of the Kuomintang, didn’t give Lien a specific mission, Li said.
“It will be interesting to see what the next stage of discussion will be as the governments seek to realize the economic cooperation commitments they have made,” Nick Lai, head of Taiwan equity research at JPMorgan Chase & Co. said before yesterday’s meeting, referring to the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement signed in 2010.
The agreement, signed by officials on both sides of the strait, included tariff reductions on petrochemicals, auto parts, and machinery, and boosts access to services including banking and insurance. Taiwan’s domestic banking units this month began taking deposits denominated in yuan, and the first Taiwan-listed debt security in the currency is slated to be issued in March.
Taiwan and mainland China have been ruled separately since 1949, when the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, fled to the island off the southeastern coast of China after battling Communist forces. Lien’s visit to China will conclude tomorrow, ETtoday reported.
In a statement following the meeting, Lien, Taiwan’s former vice president and presidential candidate, said the two sides should cast off the “memories of our history” and work toward common interests of peace and prosperity.