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Hu-Lien Meeting Hailed Worldwide

The meeting between the leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) party on Friday was hailed across the world as the European Union (EU) and the United States expressed welcome while Singaporean Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew described it as "historic."

Commenting on the meeting between Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, and Lien Chan, chairman of KMT, a spokesperson for the European Commission (EC), said the EC, as EU's executive arm, welcomes the first meeting between the top leaders of the two parties in 56 years.

"We are keen for that to be a solution to the tension" across the Taiwan Straits through dialogue, Emma Udwin, the EC spokesperson, told a daily press conference in Brussels on Friday.

"We welcome the first step. We hope this is far from a full story, we hope this would prove to be a first step to a positive direction," she said.

In Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew called the Hu-Lien meeting a historic one as both sides recognize the "one China" consensus.

Lee said he sees peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits over the next three and a half years.

In Washington, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said, "We welcome dialogue" between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits as "we believe cross-Straits dialogue is important to promoting peace and stability in the region. "

"We'll continue working with the parties in the region and continue to encourage them to engage in dialogue to promote peace and stability in the region," McClellan said.

In a news dispatch from Beijing, Portugal's Lusa news agency termed the Hu-Lien handshake, the first between the top leaders of the two parties since 1945, as "historic."

The handshake symbolizes an end to hostility between the two parties and opens a new chapter in the cross-strait relations, it said.

Associations of overseas Chinese in South Africa also expressed their support for the effort made by the two parties to maintain peace and promote development through enhanced cooperation across the strait.

Lien Chan, leading a KMT delegation, kicked off a week-long visit to China's mainland on Tuesday, the first by a top KMT leader since 1949.

James Soong, chairman of Taiwan's People First Party, is scheduled to follow Lien's suit on May 5-12.

(Xinhua News Agency April 30, 2005)

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