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Hu's Guideline on Mainland-Taiwan Relations Underlined
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Chinese President Hu Jintao's four-point guideline on the Taiwan issue has helped cement the bedrock for mainland-Taiwan relations' peaceful and stable development, said some lawmakers and advisors on Sunday, while a national parliamentary session spokesman warned of "severe challenges" to the ties this year.

The guideline, Hu put forward at a panel discussion of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee's annual session on March 4, 2005, "enriched the mainland's policies toward Taiwan and left a far-reaching impact on keeping peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait," said CPPCC National Committee member Shi Sihao, counselor of the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots.

In the guideline, Hu said that the mainland will "never sway in adhering to the one-China principle, never give up efforts to seek peaceful reunification, never change the principle of placing hope on the Taiwan people, never compromise in opposing 'Taiwan Independence'."

The four "nevers" were set forth in a consideration of the actual situation of the cross-Strait relations and have benefited compatriots on both sides, said Shi on the sideline of the CPPCC National Committee's annual session that opened here on Saturday.
Thanks to the mainland's active implementation of Hu's guideline, Shi said, the past two years witnessed deepened cooperation and exchanges between the two sides, featuring the ice-breaking dialogues between the Communist Party of China and Taiwan-based Kuomintang, or the Chinese Nationalist Party, which was then followed by the People First Party and the New Party.

The two sides also saw improved cooperation in trade, tourism, education and other sectors. The indirect trade volume between the mainland and Taiwan hit a record US$100 billion last year, and Taiwan residents made more than 4.4 million visits to the mainland while the figure for mainland visits to Taiwan topped 200,000.

The two sides also expanded the charter flight program, initially only for the Spring Festival, to other traditional Chinese holidays.

However, at a press conference ahead of the annual full session of the National People's Congress, which is slated to open on Monday, spokesman Jiang Enzhu said the cross-Strait ties will face "severe challenges" in 2007 in spite of the peaceful and stable momentum last year, as Taiwan authorities' efforts to seek "de jure independence" through the so-called "constitutional reform" might enter into a "substantive" stage.

A series of "de-sinicizing" moves recently adopted by the Taiwan authorities in an apparent push for secession showed strains on mainland-Taiwan relations were lurking around, said Jiang.

Two elections in Taiwan, namely the election of the "Legislative Yuan" at the end of this year and the Taiwan leader election in 2008, are expected to bring changes to the political environment on the island, he said.

"(But) no difficulties may challenge our faith in maintaining the peaceful development of the cross-Straits relations, nor can any new troubles sway our determination to check 'Taiwan independence'," Jiang said.

Citing the applause from Taiwan farmers last June when the mainland bought 200 tons of bananas from them, part of the agricultural cooperation package between the two sides, Chen Jiande, an NPC deputy of Taiwan origin, said the expanded and deepened exchanges fully demonstrated the care and love for Taiwan compatriots from the mainland.

The theme of Hu's four-point guideline is peace and development, and accords with the interests of Taiwan compatriots, Chen said.

Cross-Strait relations become a hot topic when the country's lawmakers and political advisors convene to discuss the government's policies at their annual full sessions each year.

"The two sessions this year will further rally our willpower to propel the peaceful and stable development of cross-Strait relations in the mutual benefits of both sides," said CPPCC National Committee member Xu Shiquan, deputy director of the National Research Institute of Taiwan.

(Xinhua News Agency March 4, 2007)

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