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Cross-strait relations open new chapter: MAC head

ROC Central News Agency

2014/02/11 18:24:47

Nanjing, Feb. 11 (CNA) Taiwan's top official in charge of planning China policy said Tuesday that his meeting with his Chinese counterpart indicated that cross-Taiwan Strait relations have entered a new chapter.

'It is a day worth noting,' said Wang Yu-chi, the head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), at the beginning of his meeting with Zhang Zhijun, who heads of China's Taiwan Affairs Office.

Wang's trip is notable because it is the first time an incumbent MAC head has visited China.

The meeting also represents the highest level official talks ever held between the two countries, and the two officials addressed each other by their official titles in their opening remarks.

Wang said he and Zhang met briefly last October in Bali, Indonesia on the sidelines of the 2013 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting.

'It is indeed valuable for me' to be able to visit mainland China in little more than four months later and discuss issues of mutual concern,' Wang said.

'I think that just being able to sit around the same table to discuss issues was extremely hard to come by,' he said.

Wang expressed the hope that both sides will continue to develop cross-strait relations based on the '1992 consensus,' which refers to a tacit understanding between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait on one China, with each side free to interpret what that means.

Wang also invited Zhang to visit Taiwan and 'take a look at Taiwan in person.'

Zhang said he hoped to see Taiwan in person at an appropriate time in the not too distant future.

After the two officials made their opening remarks, they went behind closed doors for their talks.

In reporting on the meeting, China's Xinhua news agency called Wang 'the head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council' without adding quotation marks around the agency's name as it had in the past, an indication that Beijing has recognized the MAC, experts said.

China Central Television (CCTV), China's state television broadcaster, made the meeting its top story on its noon news program and using the same description as Xinhua to describe Wang instead of 'head of cross-strait affairs on the Taiwan side' it used in the past.

In its four-minue report, CCTV looked at Wang's 27-member delegation and the 220 reporters from 88 news outlets covering Wang's visit and also quoted scholars from both sides of the Taiwan Strait on the significance of Wang's visit.

Professor Wang Kao-cheng of Taiwan's Tamkang University said the formal meeting was significant for the development of cross-strait relations, and he believed that direct communications will help solve problems.

Xie Yu of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said the meeting meant ties between the two sides have moved one step forward.

(By Eva Feng, Scarlett Chai and Lilian Wu)
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