Traveling from a nature reserve to a Taipei zoo, the pair of goodwill pandas offered by the Chinese mainland didn't have to transfer planes or even fly over Hong Kong to get to their destination.
That's something passengers had to do before direct flights resumed on Dec. 15, 2008.
It was ridiculous to ever stop direct air routes between the two sides. One reason is because of increasing trade volume. In 2007, for example, it was valued at 124.48 billion U.S. dollars.
The absurdity of having to transfer when traveling or shipping remained for six decades until half a month ago when both sides resumed direct air, shipping and postal services.
The call for an entire reconciliation between the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Kuomintang (KMT) and an everlasting peace was initiated by the mainland exactly 30 years ago.
The sincerity of "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan," issued by the National People's Congress (NPC) Standing Committee on Jan. 1,1979, was embodied in a policy remarkably shifting from the term of "liberation" to the more pragmatic "peaceful reunification," which is what made the message so historic.
Mistrust came from a longtime rivalry between the CPC and the KMT. It escalated to a fierce military showdown in the 1940s.
On an occasion marking the 30th anniversary of the message's publication, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Hu Jintao called for "a military security mechanism of mutual trust" across the Straits. This was the latest initiative from the mainland to defuse remnant traces of confrontation.
The mainland today is far from what it was like three decades ago. Most people enjoy economic prosperity on a land which saw an average annual growth rate of more than 9 percent in gross domestic product. As a result, the Chinese mainland rose to the world's fourth largest economy.
From Taiwan's perspective, the mainland also plays a couple of other roles. It is its top trade partner, the biggest export market and the largest trade surplus provider. Not only peace, but also the economic future of Taiwan people are inevitably linked tothe prosperity and stability of the mainland.
As geographical closeness and shared identity of the glorious nation are undeniable, support from each other within the Chinese nation is stronger than support offered from others. It will be especially important when dealing with the affects of the international financial crisis.
For the mainland, too much was condensed into the past three decades, such as the transformation and reconciliation with the West, to name two examples. The date the "Message to Compatriots in Taiwan" was published coincides with the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the United States.
By signing the joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations, the United States "acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is part of China."
Under the banner of "one China," paths might be found toward a peaceful reunification.
The political wisdom, inspired by the courage of the CPC on adopting the reform and opening-up, made a tension-easing landmark30 years ago. As the Chinese people work for a more harmonious world, wisdom from both sides of the Straits might be vital.
(Xinhua News Agency January 2, 2009)