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Olympic Torch 'Must Not Be Politicized'
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The mainland hopes Taiwan authorities will not allow politics to interfere with the Olympic torch relay and fulfill the wish of Taiwan compatriots to see the flame pass through the island, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council Yang Yi said yesterday.

The torch relay route across Taiwan follows an agreement reached by the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) and the Chinese Taipei Olympic Committee (CTOC), Yang said. Moreover, the route has been approved by the International Olympic Committee.

In March, CTOC chairman Tsai Chen-wei confirmed that the Olympic torch would be flown from Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to Taipei and leave for Hong Kong from there.

On April 26, BOCOG unveiled the 137,000-km torch relay route for the 2008 Olympics, including the stop in Taipei. But some of Taiwan's pro-independence officials immediately rejected the route, alleging the route "belittles" Taiwan.

Businesses welcome

Yang welcomed Taiwan companies to cash in on the business opportunities created by the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

"We welcome all companies, from home and abroad, including Taiwanese companies, to share the business opportunities created by the Olympics."

BOCOG will focus mainly on finalizing deals with suppliers for the Paralympic Games and those supplying equipment, Yang said.

The mainland hopes to establish weekend and regular charter flights with Taiwan as soon as possible, he said.

"Only if the weekend and regular charter flights are realized at an early date can the air service bring genuine convenience, benefit and efficiency to people and airline companies on both sides," he said.

(Xinhua News Agency June 28, 2007)

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