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May 30, 2017

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Zhang describes his Taiwan trip as being 'a successful visit'

BEIJING -- China's top official in charge of Taiwan affairs has described his just-concluded trip to Taiwan as "a successful visit," even though there were "some situations."

Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, spoke of his trip Sunday over lunch with Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin, who was finishing up his own four-day visit to Beijing, according to others present at the occasion.

They cited Zhang as saying that he had felt the warmth of ordinary Taiwanese during his four-day stay in Taiwan from June 25 to 28.

Although he experienced "some situations" in Taiwan — the term he used to describe the many protests he encountered — Zhang said he felt the sounds he heard in the demonstrations were not representative of the voices of most Taiwanese people.

The Chinese official also told Hau that he sensed most Taiwanese at the grassroots level do not like talking politics but care more about economic problems.

The future development of cross-Taiwan Strait ties should concentrate on economic issues and practical people-to-people exchanges, Zhang said, according to the sources.

Zhang was shadowed by protesters almost everywhere he went during his time in Taiwan, intent to show their displeasure over China's suppression of Taiwan's sovereignty and their opposition to closer ties with Beijing.

Some of the protests even erupted into violent clashes between protesters and police.

Hau said "impolite actions" are not the norm in Taiwan. Describing Taiwan as a pluralistic society, he said any views can be expressed but "peace and reason are paramount."

Hau flew to Beijing from Taiwan on June 26 to attend the 2014 Beijing International Tourism Expo and promote tourism in Taipei. He did not meet Zhang when the latter was in Taipei.

Zhang was the first People's Republic of China official in charge of Taiwan affairs ever to visit Taiwan.

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