KMT bigwig visits Beijing's Space City

Beijing, Feb. 27 (CNA) Lien Chan, an honorary chairman of Taiwan's governing party, visited Space City in Beijing Wednesday. The visit to the complex was Lien's last public stop on a four-day visit to Beijing during which he met Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping and Chinese President Hu Jintao. Lien's hosts arranged for three astronauts -- Liu Wang, Jing Haipeng and Liu Yang -- to accompany him and his delegation on a tour of the facility, including the mission control center, astronaut training area and simulator building. Lien's wife, Lien Fang Yu, showed great interest in the tour and asked Liu Yang, the first Chinese woman in space, "to take me into space." Meanwhile, Kuo Su-chun, the spokeswoman of Lien's delegation, said remarks made by Lien during his visit to China have been based on the 1992 consensus and have not run counter to the framework of peaceful cross-strait development. The 1992 consensus refers to a tacit agreement between the sides of the Taiwan Strait that there is only "one China," with both sides free to interpret its meaning. Fan Liqing, spokeswoman of the Taiwan Affairs Office under the State Council, said Wednesday that it was necessary to create ways to solve difficulties in cross-strait relations, and she suggested that it could start with non-governmental organizations. "We can have think thanks on both sides of the Taiwan Strait start to explore problems that still exist in the political area," Fan said. She was responding to questions on how the new leaders in China will prepare for promoting cross-strait political dialogue after Lien said on Tuesday that cross-strait political dialogue might be unavoidable. She said China will continue to follow the principles of handling "easy things first and difficult things later," and "moving gradually." China will increase cross-strait economic cooperation, expand cultural exchanges, and enhance personnel engagements to forge consensus and create conditions for solving political difficulties, Fan said. Lien and his delegation are scheduled to return to Taiwan Wednesday night. (By Lawrance Chiu, Lee Shu-hua , Eva Feng and Lilian Wu) Endtiem/ls