Lien Chan

Xi's talk of cross-strait dream 'aimed at political talks'

Analysts say the ultimate goal of new party leader's talk of brotherhood is unification, but such an outcome is a long way down the road

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 02 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 02 March, 2013, 5:03am


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Communist Party leader Xi Jinping's appeal for people across the Taiwan Strait to forge dreams together is being seen as a new approach by the party's new leadership to make the prospect of cross-strait political talks more accessible.

But academics and non-government organisations from the two sides that specialise in cross-strait ties said extensive exchanges and discussions would also be needed.

In a meeting with Lien Chan, honorary chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang, in Beijing on Monday, Xi said it was the duty of the new party leadership "to continue promoting the peaceful development of cross-strait ties and peaceful unification", and called on both sides to work together to achieve "Chinese dreams" of "China's renaissance".

"Nothing can cut the blood bond between mainland and Taiwan compatriots and nothing can change the fact that both sides belong to one China."

It was Xi's highest-level cross-strait meeting since he succeeded Hu Jintao as party general secretary in November.

"Realising the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation - the greatest dream in the country's modern history - requires the joint efforts of people from the two sides," he said, adding that "if brothers are of the same mind, their sharp strength can cut through metal".

He also said it would take time and patience from both sides to resolve thorny issues.

Analysts said that by resorting to nationalism and images of blood brotherhood, Xi hoped to build a bridge for the two sides to cross political boundaries and make political dialogue a real possibility in the next decade.

"Rather than just clichéd appeals, like his predecessors used, Xi's call for 'blood brotherhood' co-operation contains a clearer direction on how the two sides can co-operate," said Professor George Tsai Wei, a political analyst at Chinese Culture University in Taipei.

Rather than just clichéd appeals, like his predecessors used, Xi's call for 'blood brotherhood' co-operation contains a clearer direction on how the two sides can co-operate

Such co-operation could be made possible through gradual deepening of cross-strait political, economic, cultural and social exchanges, Tsai said.

During their meeting, Xi told Lien that "unremitting efforts will be made to consolidate and strengthen a political, economic, cultural and social foundation for the peaceful development of cross-strait relations".

In response, Lien said people from the two sides should promote brotherhood and mutual understanding, as well as join hands to resist separatism.

"Cross-strait relations can be deepened from a new starting point," Xinhua quoted Lien as saying.

Fan Liqing, a spokeswoman for the mainland State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, was quoted by the Central News Agency in Taipei as saying that there was a need to "create the conditions" for the two sides to resolve thorny political issues and that could start with political issues being discussed by think tanks from the two sides.

Analysts said Fan's remarks reflected the new mainland leadership's current cross-strait policy.

"Discussions of relevant topics by academics and think tanks from the two sides are expected to increase sharply in the future," said Professor Yang Kai-huang, a specialist in cross-strait affairs at Ming Chuan University in Taipei.

In addition to increasing academic dialogue on such topics, Beijing was also expected to strengthen contacts with Taiwan's pro-independence camp, Yang said.

But pundits said the attitude of Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou towards political contact remained the decisive factor in whether political dialogue could take place before Ma's second four-year term ended in 2016.

He has pledged not to have political talks and was lukewarm in his response to the Xi-Lien meeting, saying it was just a "meeting in a private capacity".

Ma has only committed to beefing up cross-strait exchanges, the establishment of reciprocal representative offices in major cities and a review of the Act Governing Relations between Peoples of the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area.