China's Taiwan policy to be more people-oriented: Chinese scholar

Beijing, June 27 (CNA) China's policy toward Taiwan will focus in the future on being "closer to the people" as evidenced by the tone of this week's visit to Taiwan by Zhang Zhijun, the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, a Chinese scholar said Friday. Zhou Zhihuai, director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Taiwan Studies, was referring to Zhang's attempts to mingle with ordinary Taiwanese, including people at nursing homes and nursery schools, during his visit.
Zhang's itinerary clearly underscored a "common touch" in the peaceful development of cross-strait ties, Zhou said, and he expected Beijing's Taiwan policy to adopt the theme of the "the two sides of the Taiwan Strait being one close family." A mainstream element of that approach would be moving "closer to the people," Zhou said at a forum in Beijing to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the institute, regarded in China as a key think tank on Taiwan. The scholar said the forum was being held "at a special time," with Zhang in Taiwan to reciprocate a visit to China in February by Wang Yu-chi, the head of Taiwan's Cabinet-level Mainland Affairs Council. He described cross-strait relations as "sailing against the current" to achieve new breakthroughs. But as Zhang is trying to portray a more conciliatory image on his trip, he has been shadowed by protesters wherever he has gone in Taiwan, reflecting the unease many Taiwanese and the opposition Democratic Progressive Party feel about closer ties with China. The DPP and its supporters have vehemently opposed agreements that would tie the two countries' economies closer together, such as a trade-in-services pact that was signed by Taiwan and China in June 2013 but remains stalled in Taiwan's Legislative Yuan.
On the DPP, Zhou argued that "it will be tough for the party to complete the last mile before regaining 'so-called power'" given its resistance to the services pact, a bill on overseeing cross-strait pacts and legislation on setting up free economic pilot zones. Chao Chien-min, a former MAC deputy minister, said at the forum that Zhang's visit showed that China is attaching more importance to appealing directly to public opinion in promoting cross-strait ties. But he acknowledged that there remains a lack of mutual trust on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, including controversies over the "1992 Consensus" and the "one China framework." (By Rita Cheng and Lilian Wu)