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Cross-strait economic ties urged

HU Jintao, General Secretary of the Communist Party of China's Central Committee, and visiting Kuomintang Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung promised to kick-start talks on a cross-strait economic cooperation pact and avoid "internal struggle" in foreign affairs.

The two agreed to further implement "the common prospects for peaceful cross-strait development," said a statement issued after their meeting in Beijing.

Both sides will maintain the political foundation that they oppose "Taiwan independence," the statement said. And both will "work to intensify mutual trust."

The two sides will begin talks about an economic cooperation agreement as soon as possible and promote exchanges between cultural and educational groups, it said.

"Both sides said that they should avoid internal struggle in foreign affairs and work for the interests of all Chinese," the statement said.

Taiwan's participation in the World Health Assembly as an observer earlier this month showed the mainland's sincerity in advancing the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, Hu told Wu.

"It indicated that Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have the ability and wisdom to properly solve issues concerning the island's participation in the activities of international institutions," he said.

The mainland expects talks about a cross-strait economic cooperation agreement to start in the latter half of this year, Hu said.

In the near term, the mainland will continue to focus on economic cooperation, and the top priority is to jointly tackle the impact of the global downturn, he said.

The mainland proposed that the two sides conduct pragmatic discussion on issues concerning political relations and that they establish a mechanism of mutual trust on cross-strait military security "under the circumstances that the country has not been reunified," he said.

Cross-strait negotiations should be conducted "step by step" and with "a proper pace" by putting economic and simple issues first and gradually moving on to tackle political and difficult problems, Hu said.

"The two sides, however, should create conditions for solving these problems," he said.

Consolidating and promoting political mutual trust is especially important for developing future ties, including gradually solving the difficult political issues, he said.

"Sticking to the principle that the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China is the key point," Hu added.


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