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June 22, 2017

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Hu's plan will guide ties with Taiwan: MAC

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The six-point overture on the peaceful development of cross-strait ties that Chinese President Hu Jintao spelled out recently can be seen as a framework for China's policy toward Taiwan in the year to come, an official said yesterday.

Hu's six-point overture, however, indicates that the "one-China" principle remains Beijing's bottom line, from which it will never budge an inch, said Chao Chien-min, a vice chairman of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC).

In a Dec. 31 statement marking the 30th anniversary of the adoption of China's "peaceful reunification" policy toward Taiwan, Hu renewed the call for the two sides to negotiate under the "one-China" principle to end cross-strait hostilities and to sign a peace accord. He suggested the political basis for promoting peaceful development of the cross-strait relations should rest on the concept that "both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China."

Hu also proposed closer economic cooperation and reasonable arrangements to address Taiwan's efforts to join international organizations.

Chao said Hu's six-point overture will definitely be the major plank in shaping China's policies toward Taiwan in the future, adding that it appears that the eight-point proposal made by Hu's predecessor, Jiang Zemin, on the development of cross-strait relations has already been swept into the dust of history.

"It's only a matter of time before the 'Hu six-point overture' is written into the charters of the Communist Party of China," Chao forecast.

Meanwhile, President Ma Ying-jeou's office has not yet made a concise or concrete response to Hu's proposals.

In its initial response on Jan. 1, the Presidential Office commented positively on the "new mindset and pragmatism" of the Chinese authorities, but stressed that as a pluralistic society, Taiwan's people have diverse views about the country's future and that different political views and expressions have to be respected.

The Presidential Office reiterated the "1992 consensus," which allows Taipei and Beijing to agree to disagree on the meaning of "one China," and the principle of "mutual non-denial" as a reminder to China about Taiwan's stance on cross-strait relations. On Jan. 6, Ma said Taiwan has to learn more about the connotations of the policy implications for Taiwan in China's latest cross-strait proposal.

The Ma administration has also called for economics to take precedence over politics at this time and reiterated the island's desire to participate in international organizations.

Meanwhile, Tsai Wei, a professor at Chinese Culture University's Sun Yat-sen Graduate Institute, said from Hu's overture one can discern that China has not and will never let go of its "one-China" principle as far as cross-Taiwan Strait relations are concerned. "Hu's proposals could at best be viewed as a change in the way Beijing is articulating its 'one-China' principle," Tsai said.

"Hu's call for both sides to open up 'international space,' end cross-strait hostilities and build mutual trust could be seen as new approach that nonetheless still lacks concrete, positive action," Tsai contended.

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