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June 28, 2017

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Xi 'understands' Taiwan: China cabinet official

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Chinese Communist Party General-Secretary Xi Jinping understands the minds of the Taiwanese people and what they want and desire, based on his long-time observation and in-depth study of the "Taiwan question," a Chinese cabinet-level official was quoted as saying yesterday.

Xi has described the relationship between China and Taiwan as akin to that between "members of the same family," Zhang Zhijun (張志軍), minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, told the state-run Xinhua News Agency in an exclusive interview yesterday, according to a Central News Agency report.

Zhang called Xi's claim "highly inspiring," said the CNA report.

The Chinese leader "cares about Taiwan compatriots and is willing to communicate with them in heart-to-heart talks" in an effort to resolve matters that weigh on their minds, Zhang was quoted as saying, adding that Xi would try to read the Taiwan people's mind and "speak their language" when he talks to them.

Xi, however, apparently said nothing about whether or not his government will renounce the use of force against Taiwan.

According to Zhang, during a Feb. 18 meeting with a visiting Taiwanese delegation headed by Honorary President of the Kuomintang Lien Chan, Xi elaborated on his position that the "two sides are one family," calling on both sides to make joint efforts to push for the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Strait and achieve what he called a "Chinese Dream," which, in his words, means the "great revival" of the Chinese nation.

Zhang described what Xi said on the occasion was "wide-embracing, lucid, vivid, sensible, reasonable, convincing, inspiring and pointing out a way forward for the development of relations between the two sides."

However, according to the CNA report, Zhang did not comment on Lien's call for China to "take the Republic of China seriously," nor on the former R.O.C. vice president's contention that such an attitude would be an asset conducive to the development of ties.

According to Zhang, Xi pays close attention to China's work vis-a-vis Taiwan and developments in the situation across the Taiwan Strait.

"He has spent a lot of energy promoting the peaceful development of relations between the two sides," Zhang was quoted as saying.

Based on the new circumstances surrounding the relations between the two sides and the new characteristics of such relations, he has introduced a new series of ideas and proposals in hopes of making further progress, Zhang added.

The topmost Chinese official in charge of relations with Taiwan, however, did not elaborate on what these ideas and proposals are.

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