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Taiwan touts 'one country, two areas' concept to improve China ties

2012/03/22 22:14:13

Beijing, March 22 (CNA) A senior ruling party representative of Taiwan said Thursday that the government is using President Ma Ying- jeou's "one country, two areas" concept in its efforts to improve cross-Taiwan Strait relations.

Wu Poh-hsiung, honorary chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT), made the statement during a meeting with China's top leader Hu Jintao, who received Wu in his capacity as general secretary of the Communist Party of China.

The legal basis for the government to push ahead its mainland policy is the Act Governing Relations Between the People of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area, Wu told his host.

"That's why it is the Mainland Affairs Council, not the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, that is responsible for handling cross-strait affairs," said Wu.

This also explains that relations between Taiwan and China are not "state-to-state relations" but are "special relations," Wu stressed, somehow playing down the "special state-to-state relations" terminology coined by former president Lee Teng-hui to describe cross-strait ties when he was the head of state in the 1990s.

Wu acknowledged that peaceful development of cross-strait ties has been possible because of the "1992 consensus" -- a tacit agreement between Taipei and Beijing that there is only one China but each side is free to interpret the term "one China."

To Taiwan, whose official title is the Republic of China, "one China" means the Republic of China. To mainland China, where the People's Republic of China was established in 1949, the PRC is the sole Chinese government on earth.

Wu said that the consensus has provided "the most important basis" for political trust between Taiwan's KMT and the CPC, the ruling party of mainland China.

Based on that mutual trust, Wu said cross-strait relations have progressed well, as economic cooperation has been carried out "hand in hand," and cultural and educational exchanges will be expanded "heart to heart."

The overall cooperation and exchanges in all areas of life represent "a correct choice" that has created peace dividends for the industries and for the people on both sides of the strait, he said, adding therefore, the "right choice" is widely welcome among the people.

Hu began his remarks by emphasizing China's "opposition to Taiwan independence and agreement with the 1992 consensus" -- a position that has laid a foundation for peacefully developing cross-strait ties and meeting the expectations of the people on both sides of the strait.

During the 50-minute meeting at the Great Hall of the People, Wu also stressed that the two sides should shelve their differences and seek common ground.

"While both insist there's only 'one China,' we have different interpretations of 'one China,'" he said.

The two sides should seek the common ground, which is "one China," look squarely at the "realities" across the strait and set aside their disputes, he suggested.

The meeting was a regular KMT-CPC summit, the fifth for Wu since he visited China in 2008 in his capacity at the time as KMT chairman.

When Wu arrived in Beijing a day earlier, he pointed out that today's meeting between the two ruling parties will be an "important" one.

The significance of the Wu-Hu summit is that it has taken place before Ma is set to begin his second term in May and China's top leadership is about to change hands in fall.

The statements made by Wu and Hu will serve as an indicator that both sides intend to maintain the status quo and give an impression of stability in cross-strait relations, according to some analysts.

(By Chiu Kuo-chiang, Jamie Wang and S.C. Chang)
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