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Mainland marks 30th anniversary of major Taiwan policy change
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The Chinese mainland commemorated the 30th anniversary of its "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" in Beijing Wednesday with a ceremony attended by three top leaders, including Chinese President Hu Jintao.

The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), China's top legislature, issued the "Message" on Jan. 1, 1979.

In this statement, the mainland first proposed ending the military confrontation across the Taiwan Straits through dialogue and welcomed exchanges between the two sides.

Hu on Wednesday offered six proposals to promote the peaceful development of the cross-Straits relationship in a speech at the ceremony.

Hu said the mainland is willing to discuss with Taiwan "proper and reasonable arrangements" for Taiwan's participation in international organizations, as long as such activity does not create a scenario of "two Chinas" or "one China and one Taiwan."

Although the two sides of the Taiwan Straits are still not reunited, it does not constitute a split of the Chinese territory and sovereignty, but rather a political confrontation left over from the civil war in the late 1940s. This does not change the fact that they both belonged to one China, he said.

He said reunification is not a matter of reshaping sovereignty and territory, but rather ending the political confrontation.

"Once the two sides reach a common understanding and accordant stance on the principle of 'one China', the foundation of political mutual trust will be laid and anything can be talked about between the two sides," he said.

"Anything that is conducive to peaceful development across the Straits, we will greatly promote. Anything that harms it, we will firmly oppose."

Hu proposed that the two sides end hostility and reach peaceful agreements under the "one China" principle.

The two sides can start discussion about political relations under special conditions before reunification in a "pragmatic" manner, he said.

He also suggested the two sides step up contacts and exchanges on military issues "at an appropriate time" and talk about a military security mechanism of mutual trust, in a bid to stabilize cross-Straits relations and ease concerns about military security.

Hu said he hoped that Taiwan's Democratic Progressive Party could clearly understand the situation and stop secessionist activities. "If the party could change its 'Taiwan independence' stance, we would make a positive response to them," he said.

He said that all those who have advocated and been involved in secessionist activities are welcome to return to the right direction of peaceful development of cross-Straits ties.

He said both sides can talk about a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement to establish a collaboration mechanism with special cross-Straits characteristics, which would be complementary and mutually beneficial.

"We continue to welcome and support Taiwan companies' business in the mainland and encourage mainland enterprises to invest in Taiwan," he said. "We expect to normalize economic relations across the Straits and establish an economic cooperation mechanism."

Hu also stressed the common cultural heritage of people living on both the mainland and the island, saying that all Chinese people should promote China's traditional civilization with strengthened spiritual ties.

"We will continue to take measures to push forward cross-Straits cultural and educational exchanges, including conferring with Taiwan on a cultural and educational exchange protocol," Hu said.

He called on both the mainland and Taiwan to increase communication and exchange in all areas, and he said the mainland would actively respond to any constructive proposals from the island that would boost the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.

Wu Bangguo, chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, presided over the ceremony with Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee, also present.

"The landmark statement elaborated our new policy on the Taiwan issue and has brought cross-Straits relations to a new stage," said Li Jianguo, vice chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, at the ceremony.

Lin Wenyi, vice-chairperson of the National Committee of the CPPCC, said that the cross-Straits relationship has seen major breakthroughs in the past year.

"The most important thing for both sides of the Taiwan Straits is to promote the peaceful development of the cross-Straits relationship and realize the peaceful reunification of the country," said Lin, also chairwoman of Central Committee of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League.

(Xinhua News Agency January 1, 2009)

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