|Chinese official sees progress in cross-Strait relations|
HOUSTON, April 13 (Xinhua) -- Relations across the Taiwan Strait have witnessed major progress in the past four years, China's top official on Taiwan affairs said here Friday.
Progress was made in three areas thanks to the joint efforts of compatriots from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Wang Yi, head of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, told representatives from Taiwan at a reception.
First of all, "three direct links" of cross-Strait mail, trade, air and shipping services have been realized, which greatly facilitated communications across the Taiwan Strait, he said.
Second, 16 agreements have been inked between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, paving the way for regular dialogues between the two sides.
Third, the two sides have agreed to jointly oppose "Taiwan independence" and to stick to the "1992 consensus," said Wang.
The official also shared his thoughts on future development of cross-Strait relations.
He said Beijing will continue existing policies on Taiwan and promote peaceful development of cross-Strait ties. Meanwhile, political mutual trust would be continuously strengthened, Wang said.
Efforts will be made to enhance cooperation in various fields between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan in accordance with the practice of "first economics, then politics" and "easy things prior to the difficult ones," he said.
Wang stressed the need to broaden communication and exchanges, particularly cultural exchanges, between the two sides and to encourage grassroots-level contacts. He also pledged efforts to allow more Taiwan compatriots to benefit from the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.
Wang vowed to continue to firmly push forward the great cause of peaceful reunification, which, he said, is a shared responsibility of the people on both sides of the strait.
Wang, who was on a work visit to the United States, also had in-depth discussions on the Taiwan issue with U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on Thursday.