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July 22, 2017

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Soong urges Xi to understand the desires of Taiwan's people

BEIJING -- James Soong, the chairman of Taiwan's People First Party, urged Chinese Communist Party General Secretary Xi Jinping on Wednesday to understand Taiwan's people, especially their desire to be the masters of their own fate.

During a meeting with Xi at the Great Hall of the People, Soong told the Chinese leader that Taiwan has recently undergone changes that Beijing must understand when engaging with Taipei, including the rise of a more autonomous civic consciousness.

Soong was responding to Xi's comment that China hopes Taiwanese people can lead better lives, but it will never waver in its determination to prevent Taiwan's independence, part of what Xi called China's "four noes" principle related to Taiwan.

Although Soong has visited Beijing several times since 2005, it was the first time he met Xi.

"Though this is the first time we've met, we're not strangers. I've always paid attention to you."

Soong, whose party has two seats in Taiwan's legislative body, arrived here on Tuesday for a visit that will last until Friday.

Xi told Soong that Beijing has several bottom lines in its relations with Taiwan, including not wavering in its resolve to prevent Taiwan independence.

While Beijing sincerely hopes the people of Taiwan can lead better lives, it has "four noes" in its dealings with Taipei, Xi told Soong.

One of the "noes," Xi said, is that "we will not waver in our determination to prevent Taiwan's independence."

The other guidelines are that Beijing will not change its pursuit of peace in cross-Taiwan Strait relations; will not abandon pragmatic initiatives promoting mutual benefit and a win-win relationship; and its enthusiasm for promoting the unity of the people across the Taiwan Strait will not be shaken, Xi said.

Soong, who arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, responded by urging Xi to understand the desire of Taiwan's people to be the masters of their own fate.

"After all, the political and social systems of Taiwan and China are very different," he said, while noting that his party has insisted that people of Chinese descent not forget their roots and firmly oppose Taiwan independence.

Soong's visit was the latest by politicians from the pan-blue camp led by the KMT who have met with Xi since he became general-secretary of the Communist Party of China in late 2012.

KMT Honorary Chairmen Lien Chan and Wu Poh-hsiung have also met with Xi as part of the President Ma Ying-jeou administration's desire to strengthen ties with China.

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