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Xi-Ma meeting significant for long development of cross-Strait ties

BEIJING, Nov. 4 -- The scheduled meeting between leaders across the Taiwan Strait is "significant" and bores "positive meaning" for long-term development of cross-Strait relations, the Taiwan Affairs chief of the Chinese mainland said on Wednesday.

Xi Jinpingand Ma Ying-jeou are scheduled to meet on Saturday in Singapore to exchange views on promoting peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and discuss major issues on deepening cross-Strait cooperation in various areas and improving the people's welfare, in a bid to safeguard and further push forward peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, which was announced earlier on Wednesday.

The mainland has always been taking "a proactive and open attitude" toward realizing cross-Strait leaders' meeting, said Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

"For the past seven years," he said, "the two sides have built up mutual trust and opened up a path of peaceful development of ties on the common political foundations of the 1992 Consensus and opposing Taiwan independence."

Summarizing "fruitful results" yielded during the years, Zhang said the two sides have inked 23 agreements through consultations between the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), solving a range of issues which are closely related to interests of the people on both sides.

The ARATS and the SEF are authorized by the mainland and Taiwan respectively to handle cross-Strait affairs.

Cross-Strait economic cooperation has been deepened, and "three direct links" referring to direct mail, transport and trade links across the Strait have been realized, which bring tangible benefits to people on both sides, Zhang said.

Enhanced exchanges in various areas have resulted in close emotional ties between the people across the Strait, Zhang said, adding that the two sides have also reduced internal frictions in handling foreign affairs through consultations.

Inspired by those achievements, many compatriots across the Strait and overseas Chinese have called for a meeting between leaders across the Strait, which might enable them to discuss face to face further development of cross-Strait relations, Zhang said.

The State Council Taiwan Affairs Office and Taiwan's mainland affairs authority have maintained communication on major issues in cross-Strait relationship development since an institutionalized consultation mechanism was set up in 2014, Zhang said, adding that their consultation had touched the topic of a possible meeting between the two leaders.

In his meeting with Taiwan's mainland affairs chief Andrew Hsia lately in Guangzhou, Zhang said, the two sides brought up the topic again and conducted initial communication.

"Both sides believe that the meeting of the two leaders is significant and bores positive meaning for long-term development of cross-Strait relations, before reaching an agreement on the meeting," Zhang said.