Amid mixed prospects, China's legislators and political advisors are voicing their belief that increasing exchanges and cooperation will help maintain peace across the Taiwan Straits.
Cross-straits relations have maintained a peaceful and steady momentum in recent years. In 2006, indirect trade volume between the mainland and Taiwan hit a record US$107.8 billion, and Taiwan residents made more than 4.4 million visits to the mainland.
Chen Yunying, a deputy to the National People's Congress (NPC), said that more and more Taiwan compatriots are coming to the mainland for better business chances, which brings hope and opportunities for peace and development.
Meanwhile, the door for dialogues between political parties cross the straits remains open. The inter-party exchanges and dialogues between the Communist Party of China and the Taiwan-based Kuomintang, People First Party and New Party had won applause across the straits.
"Compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are getting to know each other better and sharing more common interests. And their understanding of a stable cross-straits relationship also deepens," said Zhang Huajun, secretary-general of the Central Committee of Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League.
"Many people in central and southern Taiwan, including my relatives there, are surprised with the rapid development of the mainland. They said they could see the goodwill of the mainland," said Lin Shengzhong, a political advisor who made a trip to Taiwan not long ago.
"I think that sets a solid foundation for peace and development across the straits," Lin said.
Despite the increase of "positive factors", lawmakers and political advisors warned that the cross-straits relations still face severe challenges and the year of 2007 is crucial for curbing "Taiwan independence" and maintaining peace.
Fan Zengsheng, a Taiwan-born deputy to China's top legislature, said that Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian has intensified his efforts to seek "de jure independence" through the so-called "constitutional reform" and "de-sinicizing" moves to keep provoking the mainland.
"Chen Shui-bian's reckless secessionist activities have put the interests of Taiwan people at risk, which we strongly oppose," Fan said.
In March 2005, the NPC adopted the Anti-Secession Law, which provides a powerful legal weapon for opposing and checking the secessionist activities.
Lawmakers and advisors said the past two years has proved that the Anti-Secession Law is a law of peaceful reunification, a law aiming to protect the Taiwan compatriots and a law against "Taiwan independence."
NPC deputy Chen Jiande said that the law showcases the common will and firm determination of all Chinese people to protect state sovereignty and territorial integrity and never allow "Taiwan independence" forces to split Taiwan from China in any name or by any means.
"I believe all Chinese people will thoroughly understand the meaning of the law and its arch principles, and jointly safeguard China's national sovereignty, territorial integrity and the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation," Chen said.
Cross-straits relations have remained a hot topic at China's annual parliamentary session. In his annual work report to the top legislature, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that the mainland will unite with Taiwan compatriots in firm opposition to all forms of secessionist activities.
"We will remain committed to the basic principle of peaceful reunification and 'one country, two systems' and vigorously expand exchanges and cooperation between the two sides," Wen said.
Xu Shiquan, a National Committee member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), said the two sessions this year have further rallied Chinese people's willpower to propel the peaceful and stable development of cross-straits relations in the mutual benefits of both sides.
"First of all, we firmly oppose Taiwan independence; Secondly, we support government to continue favorable policies so as to help promote cross-straits relations," said Xu, deputy director of the National Research Institute of Taiwan.
(Xinhua News Agency March 15, 2007)