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Spokesman denies anti-Taiwan sentiment among mainlanders

BEIJING, June 15 -- A Chinese mainland spokesman on Wednesday said that what some have taken to be an "anti-Taiwan sentiment" among people on the mainland, was actually about rejecting "Taiwan independence."

An Fengshan, spokesman for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office who was speaking at a press conference, warned that "Taiwan independence" in any form was a flagrant provocation and would sabotage cross-Strait peace and stability.

Responding to a question about a recent proposal by some Taiwanese political parties to challenge the one-China provisions with "constitutional amendments," An said, "Any attempt to seek secession will be unsuccessful."

He also rejected a statement by Taiwan's cross-Strait affairs authority to term the cross-Strait relationship as one among "neighbors."

"The mainland and Taiwan belong to one China, and compatriots on both sides are a family, not 'neighbors.'"

Moreover, in response to a question about a plunge in the number of mainland tourists to Taiwan, An said the mainland authority had never set a quota on the number of tourists to Taiwan.

"Changes in the island's tourism are mainly due to changes on the island this year. The impact certain events have had on cross-Strait ties has been felt by the market," he said.

He said the mainland will continue to enhance cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation for the interests and welfare of the compatriots on both sides.

According to An, a Kuomintang Party youth-wing delegation will visit the mainland next week to discuss cross-Strait exchanges.

During the tour, the delegation is expected to meet with Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee.

Mainland authorities have also decided to add six mainland bases for cultural exchanges with visitors from Taiwan, bringing the total bases on the mainland to 49.

However, the spokesman stressed, cross-Strait communication, dialogue, and exchanges must be based on the recognition of the 1992 Consensus and the one-China principle.

"So far, the island's new leader has adopted an ambiguous attitude toward the nature of relations between the mainland and Taiwan. To ensure the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties, the confirmation of the one-China principle is a must," he said.

He reiterated this principle when answering questions about an upcoming visit by Taiwan's new leader Tsai Ing-wen to Panama and about a recent report that Chen Chu, mayor of Taiwan's city of Kaohsiung, has expressed willingness to visit the mainland.