Communist Party chief Xi Jinping yesterday told honorary Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan that the mainland would respect Taiwan's choices so long as both sides negotiate under the "one China" principle.
"We respect Taiwan people's choices of their social system and lifestyle," Xi told Lien at their meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse yesterday. But he also warned that cross-strait ties would be affected if both sides were not willing to adhere to the "one China" principle under the so-called 1992 consensus.
"If this foundation is damaged, cross-strait ties will return to the old unstable path," he said, calling for political dialogue between the two sides.
"We are willing to carry out negotiations with Taiwan on equal footing under the 'one China' principle and make reasonable arrangements," he said.
Lien told Xi that Taiwan would adhere to the 1992 consensus and that it understood cross-strait relations were not an international issue, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.
Yesterday's meeting with Lien - Xi's second since becoming Communist Party chief in October 2012 - came days after the first meeting between government officials from both sides of the strait.
Xi praised last week's historic talks between Zhang Zhijun , head of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, and his Taiwanese counterpart, Wang Yu-chi, saying they had yielded positive results. It was Xi's first public comment on the first official Beijing-Taipei exchange to take place in 65 years.
In an apparent move to engage more people, Xi also said the mainland was willing to talk to any Taiwanese who wanted to promote cross-strait ties.
Zhang Tongxin , a cross-strait affairs expert from Renmin University, said this signalled Beijing's eagerness to push non-governmental, cross-strait exchanges through alternative channels.
"Lien … could significantly impact Taiwan's political and economic circles," Zhang said. "Xi met him because he is also a key advocator of Beijing's 'one China' principle. That means, all Taiwan's political party leaders will be able to talk to Beijing's leadership if they also agreed that there is only one China."