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May 1, 2017

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Cross-strait political dialogue inevitable: Lien

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Political dialogue between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is inevitable as both work closer to forge mutual trust, Kuomintang (KMT) Honorary Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) said yesterday during a meeting with mainland China President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) in Beijing.

Lien told Hu that promoting mutual trust between Taiwan and China at political, social, economic, psychological and cultural levels is a very important political project for both sides.

To pave the way for opening dialogues, Taipei and Beijing's nongovernmental groups and scholars should first conduct exchanges on topics such as the termination of cross-strait hostility, the establishment of military confidence-building measures and the signing of a cross-strait peace agreement, Lien proposed.

Echoing this view, Hu said he also believed that the two sides should expand their cooperation and exchanges beyond economic and cultural issues.

Noting that he had met Lien on 12 occasions since 2005, Hu gave credit to Lien's efforts in improving cross-strait ties over the past eight years.

Also during the meeting, Lien invited Hu to visit Taiwan and enjoy a taste of its famous snacks following his upcoming retirement.

The Chinese leader is expected to step down next month as part of a transition in power China undertakes every 10 years.

Lien, a former vice president of Taiwan, arrived in Beijing Sunday on a four-day visit.

He met with China's new top leader, Xi Jinping (習近平), on Monday, becoming the first senior KMT politician to see Xi since the latter became general secretary of the Communist Party of China in November.

Lien Downgrades Taiwan Sovereignty; DPP

During his Monday meeting with Xi, Lien proposed a new "16-character principle" for the cross-strait relationship: One China (一個中國), cross-strait peace (兩岸和平), mutually beneficial integration (互利融合) and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation (振興中華).

He also told Xi that the two sides should build a "balanced, equal and effective political framework."

The KMT heavyweight's proposal, however, was harshly criticized by the opposition Democratic Progressive Party in Taipei yesterday, which accused Lien of accepting Beijing's one-China policy and downgrading Taiwan's sovereignty.

Lien's formula drops the "different interpretations" (各自表述) from "One China with different interpretations," (一個中國各自表述) the longstanding policy that there is one China but that both governments are free to hold their own interpretation of China, party spokesperson Lin Chun-hsien (林俊憲) said yesterday.

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