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Monday, March 7, 2016, 09:38

Taiwan policy pledge wins support

By Li Xiaokun and Zhang Zhouxiang

Legislators respond after president, premier vow to stay 'clear and consistent' toward island province

Senior legislators have backed China's top leadership for vowing not to alter its policy toward Taiwan despite imminent political changes on the island.

President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang both made pledges on Saturday during meetings at this year's session of the National People's Congress.

Deputies to the NPC, including those from Taiwan and nearby Fujian province, said the promise will boost confidence of stronger relations on both sides of the Straits.

"Changes have happened to the politics of Taiwan due to the election (of new regional leader Tsai Ing-wen), but that won't shake our determination to hold on to the 1992 Consensus and the peaceful development principle," said Jiang Erxiong, chairman of the Fujian committee of the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots and a member of Taiwan's delegation to the NPC.

Liang Jianyong, vice-governor of Fujian, who is in charge of Taiwan affairs, said, "The deputies from our province were all deeply encouraged. It's very good news for Fujian, and for exchanges between Fujian and Taiwan.

"I cannot fully express my emotions now, but it reminded me of these lyrics: There are so many charming ones in the world/but I only have a special liking for you," Liang added, using a line from a song by mainland and Taiwan singers to describe the provinces' special bond.

During a panel discussion on Saturday with a delegation of Shanghai lawmakers, Xi said, "Our policy toward Taiwan has been consistent and clear and will not change because of political changes in Taiwan."

It was the first time the president had commented on cross-Straits relations since Tsai, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party, was elected in January. She will take office in May.

However, Xi added that Beijing would "resolutely curb" secessionist activities seeking "Taiwan independence" in any form, and would never let the historic tragedy of "national separation" recur.

Li reiterated in his Government Work Report that mainland authorities would uphold their policies toward Taiwan and oppose separatist activities.

You Quan, Fujian's top leader, said a priority of the province's work plan for the next five years is to deepen ties with Taiwan.

Fujian approved 890 Taiwan-invested projects last year, double the number in 2014, according to provincial government data.

Kong Lingzhi, a member of Taiwan's delegation to the NPC, said it is important to increase interaction between young people across the Straits. "The more you understand each other, the more you cherish the brotherhood," he said. "The shared cultural roots will always remind people that we are one nation."

Chen Weiwen, head of the Guangdong committee of the Taiwan Democratic Self-Government League and also a member of the Taiwan delegation, said Xi's speech was a serious warning to all who try to separate Taiwan from China.

The one-China principle is key to cross-Straits relations, and there is no room for negotiation, he added.

Contact the writers through lixiaokun@chinadaily.com.cn

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