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Document Issued on 'Three Direct Links' Across Straits

The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council Wednesday issued a document on China's policy on direct links in mail, transport and trade across the Taiwan Straits.

The document is entitled "Actively and Realistically Promote 'Three Direct Links' Across the Taiwan Straits by Reliance on the People and in the Interests of the People."

The foreword of the document says owing to the military confrontation across the Taiwan Straits for over 30 years after 1949, people-to-people contacts and direct links in mail, transport and trade between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits had been totally suspended, resulting in total division between the compatriots across the Straits.

Despite some progress made in the past years, the cross-Straits "three links" remains in an indirect, one-way and partial state due to restrictions and obstructions imposed by the Taiwan authorities.

The first part of the document is focused on the status quo and problems to be solved in this field. Under strong demand from compatriots, and due to negotiations and efforts by business circles on both sides of the Straits, the "three links" have started from scratch and progressed to varying degrees, but the current indirect, one-way and partial state has impeded the exchanges and contacts between compatriots and the development of trade and economic cooperation across the Straits, says the first part, pointing out such failure is mainly attributed to obstruction by the Taiwan Authorities.

The second part says realization of the "Three Direct Links" accords with the immediate interests of compatriots across the Straits, and is the fundamental way to attaining mutual benefit and a win-win situation.

In 2002 the cross-Straits volume of passenger transport approached four million, the trade volume exceeded 40 billion US dollars, and the volume of cargo transport reached anything up to tens of millions of tons, the second part says.

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, and will help boost inter-Straits economic development as well as help compatriots on both sides jointly to adapt to the trends of economic globalization and regionalization, strengthen cooperation, seize opportunities and meet challenges, the second part says.

The third part, focusing on the mainland's basic stand and policies, says relying on the people and working for the well being of the people are the mainland's stand and purpose in the resolution of the "Three Direct Links" issue.

The "three links" issue is a cross-Straits affair and an internal affair of Chinese people on both sides of the Straits, the third part says, making a call to shelve political disputes and prevent political differences from affecting and interfering with the "Three Direct Links".

The third part stresses the principles of reciprocity, mutual benefit and consultation on the basis of equality, as well as the role of nongovernmental trade organizations on both sides in conducting consultation.

The Taiwan authorities should remove discriminatory restrictions and unreasonable obstacles directed against the mainland as soon as possible, it says.

The fourth part makes explanations on some questions related to the "Three Direct Links," including consultation between cross-Straits nongovernmental trade organizations, the flag and certificate in cross-Straits direct air and shipping services, participation of foreign companies in cross-Straits air and shipping services and the relationship between the "three direct links" and the so-called Taiwan security.

The document finally concludes that "we are fully confident that the direct, two-way and complete 'three links' will be realized," calling on the Taiwan authorities to take practical steps as soon as possible to remove the obstacles in the way of the direct, two-way and complete "three links" between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits.

(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2003)

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