Hsia, Zhang launch new cross-strait hotline
ROC Central News Agency
Taipei, Dec. 30 (CNA) A newly installed telephone hotline system connecting the heads of cross-Taiwan Strait affairs in Taiwan and mainland China was officially launched Wednesday, with the top cross- strait affairs officials conversing with each other and recognizing the recent achievements across the strait.
Hsia Li-yan (夏立言), chief of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), and his Chinese counterpart, Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO), held their first conversation via the hotline, marking the official launch of the high-level communication channel across the strait, the MAC said in a statement.
During the conversation, Hsia described the launch of the hotline as an important achievement resulting from the historic talks between President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) in November, the MAC said.
Meanwhile, he expressed hope that the hotline will make cross-strait communication on major, urgent issues smoother and called on both sides to continue the efforts to address remaining issues across the strait and improve relations between the two sides, the statement said.
In Beijing, TAO spokesman Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) also announced the launch of the new hotline at a news conference.
In addition to wishing each other a Happy New Year, the two officials also recognized the positive cross-strait developments over the past year, based on the '1992' consensus, he said.
Mainland China hopes to continue to promote the peaceful development of cross-strait ties for the benefit of the people on both sides, he said.
During a historic meeting with Xi in Singapore on Nov. 7, Ma proposed that a hotline be established between the heads of Taiwan's MAC and the mainland's Taiwan Affairs Office.
Before the new hotline was set up, the highest-level regular cross-strait communication channel was between the deputy heads of the MAC and the TAO. The heads of Taiwan's semi-official Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and its Chinese counterpart, the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), have also established direct communication.
The SEF and the ARATS are responsible for cross-strait negotiations.
(By Yin Chun-chieh, Scarlett Chai and Elaine Hou)
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