Hot­line links Tai­wan and the main­land

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By PENG YIN­ING in Beijing pengyin­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

A hot­line be­tween the Chi­nese main­land and Tai­wan was of­fi­cially launched on Wed­nes­day when chiefs of cross-Straits af­fairs from both sides used it for the first time to speak to each other.

The new link pro­vides an up­graded con­tact be­tween the two sides by con­nect­ing the heads of the two Cab­i­net-level agen­cies re­spon­si­ble for cross-Straits ties.

An ex­ist­ing hot­line con­nected the semiof­fi­cial or­ga­ni­za­tions that ne­go­ti­ate agree­ments in the ab­sence of for­mal ties.

Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the State Coun­cil Tai­wan Af­fairs Of­fice, told a reg­u­lar me­dia brief­ing that Xi Jin­ping and Ma Ying­jeou, the top main­land and Tai­wan lead­ers, agreed to set up the hot­line dur­ing their meet­ing in Sin­ga­pore in Novem­ber. The move is de­signed to in­crease ex­changes and di­a­logue, and to en­hance po­lit­i­cal mu­tual trust.

The Xi-Ma meet­ing was the first be­tween top lead­ers of the two sides in 66 years.

Dur­ing their con­ver­sa­tion over the new hot­line, Zhang Zhi­jun, the main­land’s Tai­wan af­fairs chief, and An­drew Hsia, his coun­ter­part from Tai­wan, con­firmed the peace­ful de­vel­op­ment of cross-Straits re­la­tions in the past year.

They also ap­proved the ef­fec­tive com­mu­ni­ca­tion and in­ter­ac­tion be­tween the two de­part­ments, ac­cord­ing to the spokesman.

Ma Xiaoguang said, “We hope the Chi­nese main­land’s Tai­wan af­fairs or­gan and Tai­wan’s main­land af­fairs body can con­tinue to im­prove the peace­ful de­vel­op­ment of cross-Straits re­la­tions” and the

The hot­line will strengthen ex­changes and di­a­logue.”

well-be­ing of peo­ple on both sides.

Ni Yongjie, deputy di­rec­tor of the Shang­hai In­sti­tute of Tai­wan Stud­ies, said, “The hot­line will strengthen ex­changes and di­a­logue to in­crease po­lit­i­cal mu­tual trust, re­duce the risk of mis­un­der­stand­ing, avoid mis­cal­cu­la­tions and con­trol di­ver­gence.”

Ni said the hot­line will be used only to deal with emer­gen­cies and im­por­tant is­sues. Whether it con­tin­ues to ex­ist next year, or the fre­quency of its use, is un­cer­tain due to the po­lit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Tai­wan, Ni said, re­fer­ring to the is­land’s lead­er­ship elec­tion in Jan­uary.

Dur­ing the lat­est elec­tion de­bate, Tsai Ing-wen, chair­woman of the op­po­si­tion Demo­cratic Pro­gres­sive Party, said the 1992 Con­sen­sus, which was built on the one-China prin­ci­ple, was “an op­tion, but not the only op­tion”.

Com­ment­ing on Tsai’s re­marks, Ma Xiaoguang said the 1992 Con­sen­sus is the mu­tual po­lit­i­cal foun­da­tion for cross-Straits ne­go­ti­a­tion and peace­ful de­vel­op­ment.

“If the foun­da­tion is lost, the com­mu­ni­ca­tion mech­a­nism be­tween the two sides will be in­flu­enced, or even col­lapse. The ship of peace­ful cross-Straits re­la­tions will en­counter rough waves, or even over­turn,” he said.

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