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Chinese official says both sides of Taiwan Strait are 'one family'

2019/07/05 23:05:11

Ko Wen-je (柯文哲, left) and Liu Jieyi (劉結一).

Taipei, July 5 (CNA) Liu Jieyi (劉結一), the director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, said both sides of the Taiwan Strait are "one family" but avoided sensitive terms like "one country, two systems" and "peaceful reunification" when he met with Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) in Shanghai on Friday.

Ko, who was in Shanghai for the Taipei-Shanghai Twin-City forum, met with Liu at a guest house Friday evening in a closed door meeting.

During opening remarks that were open to the media, Liu shared the achievements of the exchanges between Shanghai and Taipei in the past decade and his vision for cross-strait relations.

Liu said he had read Ko's book titled "Taipei -- A Proud City with Progressive Values" and said the mayor's pursuit of serving his constituents and bringing innovation in the city was in line with China's resolve to serve its people.

He also said "people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait are one family and should help each other," citing travel and trade statistics.

Liu noted that Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) talked about the direction of cross-Strait relations during a speech on Jan. 2 and said cross-strait relations would continue to "move toward the direction pointed to by Xi."

At the time, Xi said China's fundamental policy toward Taiwan was "peaceful reunification" under the "one country, two systems" formula, but Liu did not say those sensitive words outright in his remarks.

Ko said there may be political barriers between the two sides, but argued that it is better to have exchanges since exchanges bring goodwill and goodwill further promotes exchanges.

The Taipei mayor said he proposed the "five do's" -- do know each other, do understand each other, do respect each other, do cooperate with each other and do comprehend each other -- because even though current exchanges cannot really solve problems, they can foster trust.

Ko, an independent who is expected to run in Taiwan's January 2020 presidential election and whose trip to China is being closely watched, said his political approach is to solve problems while they are still small, and he suggested the two sides maintain a smooth communication channel, a Taipei spokesperson said.

Ko knows the two sides lack an effective communication channel, but Taipei authorities are trying hard to sustain exchanges, the spokesperson said.

(By Shine Chen and Emerson Lim)
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