Professor Cao Tianzhong at the newly established Taiwan Studies Institute of Sun Yat-sen University in Guangdong thinks highly of the contribution of Soong's mainland visit to direct political dialogue between the mainland and Taiwan.
According to Cao, the PFP occupies a special position in the politics in Taiwan. Though the PFP is weaker than the KMT and DPP, it can serve as a link between them. On the one hand, it has tacit understandings of the KMT and both holding up the one-China principle; on the other hand, it maintains contact with the DPP despite various grudges between them. In February, Soong met with Chen Shui-bian and the two reached a 10-point consensus, including not to declare independence or seek to change Taiwan's name from the "Republic of China" to the "Republic of Taiwan" during Chen's term.
Cao believes that the PFP may take on the task of peace broker between the two ruling parties across the Taiwan Strait since the CPC and DPP are not currently talking to each other. The PFP recognizes the one-China principle, which is the bottom line the CPC lays down for direct talks, and it has also reached the 10-point consensus with the DPP.
Cao feels strongly that direct contact between the two ruling parties is possible after the KMT and PFP's mainland visits have led to increasing pressure on the ruling DPP. According to the latest survey conducted by Taiwan's Era News television network, more than 70 percent of the respondents supported a meeting between Hu Jintao and Chen Shui-bian.
In addition, the Taiwan-based China Times leadership poll gave Chen a 39-percent approval rating, down from 44 percent in February. His disapproval rating rose to 43 percent from 39 percent, according to the survey of 1,002 people on May 9-10.
According to Guo Zhenyuan, researcher with the China Institute of International Studies, after Lee Teng-hui became Taiwan leader in 1988, Taiwan authorities deliberately created "green terror" in the island. As a result, anyone who advocates China reunification, or even calls for improvement of cross-strait relations and exchanges, would be labeled a "sellout."
"The KMT and PFP's mainland visits break the 'green terror,' and inspire stronger desires of the Taiwanese public to realize peace, develop economic and trade relations and cultural exchanges between the two sides of the strait," Guo noted.
"The greatest estrangement across the Taiwan Strait is the estrangement in the mind. Only when we break through this can things across the Taiwan Strait be improved," stressed Soong.
CPC, PFP Jointly Issue Communique
The Communist Party of China (CPC) and Taiwan's People First Party (PFP) agreed, after CPC General Secretary Hu Jintao and PFP Chairman James Soong Chu-yu met in Beijing on May 12, that if Taiwan does not seek independence, there will be no military conflicts across the Taiwan Strait, and that both shall work for the promotion of cross-strait economic exchanges and trade.
"Military conflicts shall be effectively avoided so long as there is no possibility that Taiwan moves toward 'independence,'" according to a communique issued after the summit between the two party leaders, the first ever in the history of the two parties.
The CPC-PFP document says that the Taiwan authorities are expected to earnestly honor the "four no's and one no question" pledge of Chen Shui-bian and live up to the commitment of not seeking "de jure Taiwan independence" through "constitutional" changes.
The proposal for 'Taiwan independence" has hurt the feelings of people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, disrupted the development of normal cooperative and mutually beneficial relations across the strait, and severely sabotaged security and stability across the strait and in the Asia-Pacific region at large, says the communique.
The two parties also voiced their "firm opposition" to any activities for the "rectification of Taiwan's name" and "constitutional changes through referendum.""
According to the communique, the two parties will join hands to promote the establishment of a framework for peace across the strait and the formal ending of the state of hostility through consultations and negotiations in a bid to reach a peace accord.
The communique urges the two sides across the Taiwan Strait to resume peace talks as soon as possible and take concrete measures to solve crucial issues of mutual concerns on the basis of mutual respect and seeking common grounds while reserving differences.
The "1992 consensus" should be respected and cross-strait peace talks should be conducted on the basis of the consensus, which highlights the one-China principle and shelves discrepancies concerning specific political connotations of the "one China", the communique says.
The two parties also reached a wide range of consensus on promoting overall economic and trade exchanges across the Taiwan Strait on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.
-The CPC and PFP will promote the realization of two-way direct flights across the Taiwan Strait by 2006.
-They called for closer agricultural cooperation across the Taiwan Strait and increasing sales of Taiwan farm produce in the mainland.
-The mainland will exempt customs duties on some of Taiwan's farm produce including fruits to help Taiwan ease sales pressure during harvest season.
-Both sides across the strait should facilitate customs clearing of farm produce and their direct transportation.
-Both agreed to promote the two-way direct investment by enterprises across the strait, and promote "specific cooperation" in banking, insurance, securities, transportation and medical sectors.
-The two parties will promote cross-strait negotiations on how to avoid double taxation on business people.
-Cross-strait people-to-people exchanges should be expanded and procedures on the mainland side should be further simplified for Taiwanese compatriots coming to and leaving the mainland.
-The mainland side should encourage and promote the employment of Taiwan compatriots on the mainland.
Note: "Four no's and one no question" pledge of Chen Shui-bian: "four no's," namely, "no declaring Taiwan independence, no inclusion of the so-called 'state-to-state' description in the constitution, no altering the national title, and no referendum on the question of independence;" "one no question," namely, "there is no question of abolishing the Guidelines for National Unification or the National Unification Council."
(Source: Xinhua News Agency)