Conditions are ripe for direct flights to Taiwan and opening up the island to mainland tourists, Beijing's Taiwan affairs authority said yesterday, hinting at an imminent breakthrough in cross-strait relations. Taiwanese president-elect Ma Ying-jeou and his running mate, Vincent Siew Wan-chang, both of the relatively mainland-friendly Kuomintang, have pledged that after their May 20 inauguration they will push for greater economic integration, including direct flights and more relaxed tourism. In a historic meeting with Mr Siew at the Boao Forum in Hainan province on Saturday, President Hu Jintao was reportedly supportive of the flight and tourism proposals. The KMT has long backed them, but they were stalled under outgoing President Chen Shui-bian, who leaned towards independence. Li Weiyi, spokesman of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, said yesterday in Beijing that the proposals would materialise soon. 'We believe that under the new circumstances, there is a solid base [for the negotiation of direct flights and the tourism scheme], and conditions are ripe,' Mr Li said. 'We very much hope that mainland enterprises can invest in Taiwan.' But he stopped short of commenting on the KMT's hopes that regular weekend direct flights would be launched as early as July 4. Mr Li said the meeting between Mr Hu and Mr Siew in Boao 'had a very significant and positive meaning in boosting cross-strait economic co-operation'. On the political front, Mr Li said negotiation between the two sides would be possible as long as the '1992 consensus', an agreement reached that year that asserts that the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China, was upheld. The two sides have different interpretations on the consensus and Mr Li would not say whether the differences had been overcome. The Ministry of Commerce said in a statement at the end of the Boao Forum that a negotiation platform would be established under the 'one-China principle', but the statement was later deleted in reports carried by Xinhua and other official media. Mr Li also would not confirm a Taiwanese media report on a possible trip by Chiang Ping-kung, the chairman-in-waiting of Taiwan's quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation, this month. Taiwan media again speculated yesterday that Mr Chiang would visit Beijing from April 29 - after it was postponed from Sunday.