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Hsia, Zhang evoke the past at Taiwan-China meeting

Hsia, Zhang evoke the past at Taiwan-China meeting

Taipei, May 23 (CNA) Both Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) chief Hsia Li-yan (???) and his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun (???) have had long diplomatic careers, and they touched on that experience in their meeting in Kinmen on Saturday. Hsia, who entered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1982, said that because of his past experience, he felt emotional shaking hands with Zhang on the outlying island that is just kilometers away from China's coast and was the front line in hostilities between the two countries in the 1950s. "The two sides should learn a lesson from history and never fight each other again," he said. In what was the first meeting between the two men, Hsia noted that Taiwan and China have been "governed separately" for seven decades and have developed different systems and values. But in recent years under President Ma Ying-jeou's (???) administration, the two sides have made an effort to enhance mutual understanding, he said. On sensitive issues that cannot be handled in a short time, Hsia called for both sides to exert more patience and sincerity, show concern for each other and enhance understanding. Despite twists and turns in cross-strait ties, Hsia expressed the hope that China could appreciate and understand the feelings of Taiwan's people. Taiwan's people care most about "security" and "dignity," Hsia said, and he urged that the two sides maintain regular communications under the precondition of not hurting each other's feelings. Zhang said that although Xiamen and Kinmen are separated by a small body of water and can be connected by a 30-minute ferry ride, they were cut off from each other for half a century. He said that three decades ago, he accompanied foreign visitors to Xiamen and looked at Kinmen across the way. He was full of emotions then because "foreigners could visit the mainland, but the two sides of the Taiwan Strait were the farthest distance in the world from each other." Observing that the two sides have gone from confrontation on the battlefield years ago to bilateral exchanges over the past seven years, Zhang said both sides pledged last year they would not return to the old path and instead handle their differences through a process of peaceful development. Zhang said both sides know each other's basic stance on major issues, but bilateral differences will not hinder communications, and he welcomed Hsia to visit the mainland at his convenience, an invitation Hsia accepted. (By Zep Hu and Lilian Wu)


Updated : 2021-09-27 11:21 GMT+08:00