1. The Direct, Two-Way and Complete "Three Links" Is an Objective Demand for People-to-People Contacts and Economic and Trade Exchanges Across the Straits.
Between 1988 and 2002, Taiwan people made more than 27 million passenger trips to visit their relatives and friends, travel, conduct investment or engage in other cross-Straits exchanges on the mainland, whereas mainlanders' trips across the Straits reached well over 700,000. In 2002 the cross-Straits volume of passenger transport approached four million, the trade volume exceeded US $40 billion-worth, and the volume of cargo transport reached anything up to tens of millions of tons. Failure to institute the direct, two-way and complete "three links" has not only increased the economic burden on compatriots across the Straits, particularly Taiwan compatriots, but also wasted much of their time and energy.
On a flight from Taipei to Shanghai via Hong Kong, a round-trip ticket only from Taiwan to Hong Kong will cost US $380. This means that for the 27 million passenger trips the passengers will spend a total of well over US $10 billion more than necessary. A direct flight from Taipei to Shanghai would take only one hour and 15 minutes, but when flying via Hong Kong as the stopover, the flight time will be extended to about four hours, not including waiting time in Hong Kong.
The direct distance between Shanghai Harbor and Kaohsiung Harbor is 600 nautical miles, but sea transportation bypassing Japan's Ishigaki Island is 232 nautical miles longer, a voyage costing more money and taking more time than necessary. The adoption of a direct air transport service will definitely save time and reduce transport costs by wide margins, and cross-Straits trade will be increased as a result of improved efficiency of goods flow.
2. The Direct, Two-Way and Complete "Three Links" Will Help Boost Inter-Straits Economic Development.
Currently, the two sides of the Straits are in different stages of economic development. There are adequate conditions for mutual complementarity and also much room for development in their economic cooperation. The history of cross-Straits economic exchange over the past dozen years is a "win-win" history of cross-Straits economic development.
Cross-Straits economic exchange and cooperation have contributed more than obviously to Taiwan's economic growth.
According to the Taiwan-based Chung Hua Institution for Economic Research, every growth of US $1 in Taiwan's exports to the mainland will bring an increase of US $2 of direct or indirect output value to the relevant Taiwan industries. Taiwan's huge favorable trade balance with the mainland has contributed greatly to the growth of its foreign exchange reserve, and continuous cross-Straits trade development will be of vital importance to Taiwan's economic growth.
The attainment of the direct, two-way and complete "three links" will help ensure Taiwan's sustained economic growth.
Since 1988, the shift of Taiwan's labor-intensive industries to the mainland has rejuvenated these industries. The obstruction of the "three direct links" has been one of the important causes of Taiwan's economic stagnation, slowed industrial structure upgrading, reduced investment, decreased consumption, increased unemployment rate and soaring index of people's plight over the past few years. Taiwan's industrial and commercial circles believe that realization of the "three direct links" will bring Taiwan's advantageous geographical location into full play, and greatly improve its investment environment; that Taiwan's enterprises can make full use of the mainland's resources and markets to further develop themselves, and promote Taiwan's economic development; that, in return, mainland enterprises can also make investments in Taiwan, which will undoubtedly inject new vitality into Taiwan's economy and create more business opportunities.
Cross-Straits economic exchange and cooperation have contributed significantly to the mainland's economic development as well.
Taiwan investors have brought funds, technology, enterprise management know-how and marketing experience to the mainland, helped expand its overseas trade and increased its tax revenue. Taiwan compatriots have more opportunities to participate in the mainland's march toward the magnificent goal of building a better-off society in an all-round way, and they themselves will achieve further development while helping to boost the mainland's economic development.
3. The Direct, Two-Way and Complete "Three Links" Will Help Compatriots on Both Sides of the Straits Jointly to Adapt to the Trends of Economic Globalization and Regionalization, Strengthen Cooperation, Seize Opportunities and Meet Challenges.
In the world today, science and technology are progressing by leaps and bounds, economic globalization and regionalization are gaining momentum, and competition in comprehensive strength is becoming increasingly acute. The people on both sides of the Straits are faced with both opportunities and challenges. The early achievement of the direct, two-way and complete "three links" will provide both sides of the Straits more sufficient information, more convenient transport, more smooth capital circulation, and more efficient resources allocation. In this way, each of the two sides will be properly placed and each will bring its own potential capacity to play, to the point of helping greatly to enhance the economic competitiveness of both sides, accelerate mutual development and boost the overall economic rejuvenation of the whole Chinese nation.
During the past decade or more, inter-Straits relations have undergone twists and turns, but cross-Straits people-to-people contacts and economic and cultural exchanges, have all along remained on the rise, opening up new prospects for the progress of the "three direct links." These fully demonstrate the congenial connections of the people on both sides of the Straits, their sharing the same language and national feeling and their having increasingly deep common interests. The "three direct links" will help toward common economic prosperity and accord with the fundamental and immediate interests of people on both sides of the Straits. Cross-Straits people-to-people contacts and economic and cultural exchanges have yielded abundant returns, which serve as both a solid foundation and an inner impetus for achieving the direct, two-way and complete "three links." People from all walks of life in Taiwan are ardently calling for the early realization of the "three direct links." Compatriots on both sides of the Straits have performed many successful deeds and gained a wealth of experience in the process of promoting the "three direct links," while, on its part, the mainland has made full preparations in all aspects for the attainment of the "three direct links." In a word, the "three direct links" is the trend of the times and the will of the people.