No difficulties may challenge our faith in maintaining the peaceful development of the cross-Strait relations, said Xu Shiquan, a Chinese mainland expert on Taiwan issues, ahead of the coming "two sessions" -- the annual meetings of China's top legislature and advisory body.
Nor can any new troubles sway our determination to check "Taiwan independence", said Xu, vice chairman of the National Society of Taiwan Studies.
"The two sessions will further rally our willpower to propel the peaceful and stable development of cross-Strait relations in the mutual benefits of both sides," said Xu, who is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC).
The annual sessions of the National People's Congress (NPC) and the CPPCC National Committee, scheduled to open on March 5 and March 3 respectively, are considered the most important annual political events in China.
In previous two sessions, how to promote cross-Strait relations, seek common interests for people of both sides and realize peaceful reunification kept to be one of the most concerned topics among NPC deputies and the CPPCC members.
KEY YEAR WITH LURKING TENSIONS
Sun Shengliang, a Taiwan expert with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told Xinhua that this year and the following year will witness key changes in Taiwan's politics as the island is to embrace two major elections, namely the election of "Legislative Yuan" at the end of this year and the Taiwan leader election in 2008.
The "Taiwan independence" secessionists have never ceased taking adventures and they may make another reckless move toward the "independence" conspiracy by every possible means, Sun said.
To resolutely curb the "Taiwan independence" secessionist activities and safeguard peace across the Strait is still the most important and pressing task for compatriots of both sides, he said.
Yang Yi, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, China's cabinet, also noted earlier in January at a press conference that the year of 2007 is a crucial period for opposing "Taiwan independence" and securing peace and stability across the Strait.
The cross-Strait relations will face severe challenges this year, as Taiwan authorities' efforts to seek "de jure independence" through the so-called "constitutional reform" might enter into a "substantive" stage, Yang said.
A series of "de-sinicizing" moves recently adopted by the Taiwan authorities in an apparent push for secession showed strains were lurking around.
Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian announced on Feb. 8 that the authorities would remove the words "China" or "Chinese" from the island's government-run organizations and enterprises, and from certain laws and regulations.
Last month, Taiwan authorities adopted a resolution that requires the island's National Palace Museum to remove all the labels that identify exhibits as being from the Chinese mainland.
These moves, seen as attempts to cut Taiwan's historical and cultural links to the mainland, have triggered widespread criticism from scholars of both sides.
It's also worth attention that Ma Ying-jeou resigned from the post of Kuomintang (KMT) chairman after being indicted on charges of corruption earlier this month, but declared immediately that he would run for the 2008 Taiwan leader election if selected KMT candidate.
KMT had accused the island's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of using this case to divert the public's attention from its leader Chen Shui-bian and his family's corruption cases.
It indicates new changes have surfaced from the political tussle between the "blue" and "green" camps, which will add to the political unrest on the island, Xu Shiquan said.
"No matter what challenges the cross-Strait relations shall face, all participants of the coming 'two sessions' will show our full support to the government's persistent policies on Taiwan and back new measures benefiting people of both sides," Xu said.
NEW HOPES BASED ON PERSISTENT POLICY
New hopes have always shed a light on the development of the cross-Strait relations.
It's hopeful that travel routes to Taiwan might open this year,as non-governmental tourism organizations from the two sides of the Strait have held several consultations on this issue and already reached a consensus, observers say.
The cross-Strait charter flights between Chinese mainland and Taiwan fulfilled their missions on Feb. 26 for the Lunar New Year holiday, amid growing aspirations for new breakthroughs in "three direct links" -- namely mail, transport and trade links.
It has been the fourth year in a row that cross-Strait charter flights for Spring Festive holidays have been carried out.
It further proves that there exist no technical obstructions for regular direct charter flights, observers say, attributing the growing cooperation and exchanges to the Chinese government's persistent policies on Taiwan issues.
"The Chinese government will firmly adhere to the guidelines of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems', and hopes to resume cross-Strait dialogues and negotiations as soon as possible based on the one-China principle," pledged Wen Jiabao, who had just took the post as Premier then, at a press conference held immediately after the NPC annual session closed in 2003.
A four-point guideline on cross-Strait relations put forth by President Hu Jintao during the 2005 "two sessions" further enriched the mainland policies toward Taiwan and left a far-reaching impact on keeping peace and stability across the Strait and pushing ahead the peaceful reunification.
The Anti-Secession Law, adopted in the 2005 NPC annual session,provides a powerful legal weapon for opposing and checking the secessionist activities.
The law also echoes the Chinese government's uncompromising stance against any act causing the fact of Taiwan's secession from China by resorting to non-peaceful means and other necessary measures.
In April 2006, Hu stressed that peace and development should become the theme of the cross-Strait relations when he met with KMT's Honorary Chairman Lien Chan and other Taiwan delegates at an economic and trade forum.
Exchanges between the two sides of the Strait have been expanded and deepened in recent years. The indirect trade volume between the mainland and Taiwan hit a record US$100 billion last year.
The mainland has exempted more than 10 categories of Taiwan fruits from taxes, which helps promote their sales on mainland markets.
Taiwan residents made more than 4.4 million visits to the mainland and the figures for mainland visits to Taiwan was more than 200,000 in 2006.
Seeking peace, promoting development and boosting cooperation accords with the trend of times and the common wishes of people across the Strait, said Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and also director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
"In the new year, no matter how many difficulties we'll encounter, our faith in safeguarding peaceful development of cross-Strait relations will not change, our determination to promote cross-Strait personnel exchanges and economic and cultural exchanges will not change, and our sincerity of working for the well-being of Taiwan compatriots and doing concrete things for them will not change," said Chen.
(Xinhua News Agency February 28, 2007)