Pioneering move in cross-Strait ties

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The recently concluded first cross-Strait peace forum brought together different political ideas and put forward proposals to end political differences.

The recently concluded first cross-Strait peace forum brought together different political ideas and put forward proposals to end political differences. [Xinhua]

Such large-scale unofficial political dialogue between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan could be a new starting point in the development of cross-Strait relations.

Based on the progressive method of "tackling easy things first, difficult things later: economics first, politics later," the two sides of the Strait have signed 19 agreements over the last five years and cross-Strait exchanges have generated direct air and shipping links, tourism, and cooperation in economic and judicial fields.

While acclaiming the achievements already made, it is worth noting that cross-Strait differences in political relations, military security and external affairs are gradually becoming prominent as the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties has entered a consolidation and deepening period.

Dealing only with economic affairs while ignoring political ones is not a sustainable practice.

If the two sides deliberately avoid tackling political disputes, they will hinder further development of relations.

More effort is needed to make breakthroughs in prominent political differences to handle cross-Strait affairs more effectively.

It could be conducive and practical for experts and scholars to exchange views first since the two sides have not launched political negotiations.

It is against this background that the cross-Strait peace forum was held to offer a platform for think tanks and academic institutions to engage in unofficial political dialogue.

On the forum's agenda are complicated and sensitive issues of political relations, external affairs, military security and the peace framework.

Participants suggested meetings between leaders across the Strait, military exchanges, a coordination mechanism for external affairs, and enhanced maritime cooperation, while their views still vary on some major particular issues.

The success of the first cross-Strait peace forum shows resolving political differences is in line with the mainstream public opinion across the Strait.

It also shows cross-Strait political differences are not taboo anymore and no longer so sensitive.

Organizers plan to hold the second forum in Taiwan next year to discuss establishing a permanent institution for the forum.

They also plan to invite academics to study issues discussed at the latest forum and submit their finding to the next forum.

These are signals that the forum could be institutionalized and become an important platform for solving cross-Strait political difficulties and promoting peaceful development of relations.

Now that unofficial dialogue is off to a good start, it should continue accumulating consensus, and fostering conditions for political negotiation in the future.


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