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June 28, 2017

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Beijing reiterates opposition to Taiwan independence

BEIJING -- Beijing Saturday reiterated its opposition to Taiwanese independence but said it welcomes exchanges with people from all quarters of Taiwan — provided they support pushing cross-strait ties forward.

The Chinese government maintains a "clear and consistent" policy toward the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and stands firmly against Taiwanese independence, said Fan Liqing, spokeswoman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, when asked about whether Beijing has begun to engage with the DPP.

China hopes that people from all political parties and sectors of society in Taiwan will support cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges, cooperation and peace, Fan continued.

"We welcome anyone as long as he or she currently favors, supports and participates in the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, no matter what he or she advocated in the past," she said.

The issue of whether Beijing will change its no-contact policy toward the pro-independence DPP has again come to the forefront after Lai Ching-te, mayor of the southern city of Tainan and a DPP member, embarked on his first visit to China Friday.

In a discussion with professors and students at Fudan University in Shanghai Saturday, Lai said that while the DPP advocates independence for Taiwan, the party respects the decision of the Taiwanese people with regard to Taiwan's future.

The DPP is reportedly open to a planned visit to Taiwan by Zhang Zhijun, minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office. There has been speculation that Zhang could meet with DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen.

Chao Tien-lin, chief of the DPP's China Affairs Committee, dismissed the speculation as "premature" on Saturday, noting that it remains unknown when Zhang's visit will occur.

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