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New dawn descends over Straits
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Today's inauguration of direct flights, shipping and postal services across the Taiwan Straits signals a new era. It ends the nearly six-decade ban on regular links between the two sides.

The results are the efforts of almost 30 years of talks by both sides, and most importantly, of trust and goodwill.

The establishment of three direct links - trade, transport and postal services - was first proposed by the mainland in 1979, hoping to end cross-Straits hostility for the benefit of the two economies and its people.

The launch of regular direct transport and postal services across the Straits has again demonstrated that putting differences aside, both sides can build mutual trust, offer goodwill to each other, and solve long-standing disputes in cross-Straits relations.

The realization of the direct transport links is estimated to help Taiwan save $126 million in extra costs a year by cutting the travel time of people and the shipment of goods via a third place, mostly Hong Kong or Macao.

The benefit is more than that, as both the mainland and Taiwan are fighting to minimize the effects of the global financial crisis. Smoother movement of cargoes and people will further integrate the two economies and create more jobs.

An end to hostility will enable the two sides to better focus on economic development.

Because of miscommunication and a lack of trust, the two sides have gone through too much hostility, war of words, and even breakdowns in talks.

We appreciate Taiwan leader Ma Ying-Jeou's efforts to push for closer cross-Straits ties on the basis of the "1992 consensus", which has facilitated the negotiations over the past six months.

With the establishment of the direct transport and postal services as a beginning, the mainland and Taiwan should expand mutual trust and goodwill to other sectors and put aside political and ideological differences to ensure long-term stability.

There is also a need to stay alert to interference from secessionist forces led by the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, which organized violent protests to stall cross-Straits talks in Taipei last month.

(China Daily December 15, 2008)

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