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KMT Chairman concludes mainland tour
2005/05/03

KMT party Chairman Lien Chan gives a brief speech at the Pudong airport in Shanghai, May 3.
KMT party Chairman Lien Chan gives a brief speech at the Pudong airport in Shanghai, May 3. (Xinhua Photo)

The Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Party Chairman Lien Chan left Shanghai for Taipei at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday after an eight-day mainland visit.

Visiting Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Party Chairman Lien Chan(R) salutes and his wife Fang Yu waves good-bye as they board a plane at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai May 3, 2005.
Visiting Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Party Chairman Lien Chan(R) salutes and his wife Fang Yu waves good-bye as they board a plane at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai May 3, 2005. (Xinhua Photo)

    SHANGHAI, May 3 (Xinhuanet) -- The Chinese Kuomintang (KMT) Party Chairman Lien Chan left Shanghai for Taipei at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday after an eight-day mainland visit.

    Gaving a brief departure speech at the airport in Shanghai before boarding the plane, Lien said his mainland tour was "pleasant, smooth and successful", and thanked the mainland side for their hospitality.

    "Wherever we went, citizens voluntarily demonstrated to us their friendship and hospitality," he said. "This is a most valuable and memorable experience for us."

    "It's hard to describe with words how we feel now. All I can say is thank you, thank you again. Wish you healthy and all the best," he said.

    Early on Tuesday, the mainland side made clear gestures of goodwill and affinity with its island province Taiwan with promises to present Taiwan compatriots a pair of giant pandas, remove a ban for mainland residents to travel to the island and open its market wider to fruits produced in Taiwan.

    Lien welcomed the gestures, saying they are conducive to boosting cross-Straits exchanges as well as the "accumulation of goodwill".

    "People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are pleased with the mainland's decision to donate a pair of pandas to Taiwan compatriots," Lien said in an interview with Xinhua and other leading media organizations from the mainland soon after the decisions were announced by Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.

    He also welcomed the mainland's decisions to expand access of fruits produced in Taiwan to 18 species from the current 12 and toexempt tariff on at least 10 species of Taiwan fruits.

    "This is of great significance to farmers in the central and southern parts of Taiwan. The KMT will actively facilitate the issue when we're back in Taiwan," Lien said.

    The mainland's decision to allow its residents to travel to Taiwan on sightseeing tours is another "epoch-making" one, he said.

    "We all witnessed how tourists from the mainland have helped boost the economic recovery in Hong Kong after the travel go-aheadwas given years ago."

    Lien and his KMT delegation arrived in Shanghai Sunday on the fourth and last leg of their mainland tour, where he met Wang Daohan, president of the mainland-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS) and had a luncheon with representatives of Taiwan people doing business on the mainland.

    Addressing the business circle at the luncheon on Monday, Lien marveled at the mainland's rapid economic growth over the past twodecades and said Taiwan faces a "crucial moment," when it must decide what direction it will take in cross-Straits relations.

    "Almost all the world's major countries have placed great importance on the mainland, viewing it as an important place to improve competitiveness and expand markets," Lien told the Taiwan businessmen.

    "In such a situation, Taiwan would suffer a serious negative impact if it keeps a closed mind," he said, adding it's now a crucial moment to "seize the market and business opportunities anda way out" on the mainland.

    He also called for the earlier establishment of an economic cooperation mechanism, a "common market" mechanism across the Straits to strive for a win-win situation and common prosperity.

    Lien and his 60-member delegation of the KMT, Taiwan's major opposition party, arrived in Nanjing on April 26 to start the "journey of peace" to the mainland.

    The group paid respects to the mausoleum of KMT founding fatherSun Yat-sen in Nanjing and held a historic meeting with Hu Jintao,general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, in Beijing, the first meeting between top leaders of the two parties in six decades.

    The two party leaders signed a press communique soon after the top level meeting last Friday, which says CPC and KMT have agreed to work together to promote cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation in five aspects.

    These include promotion of the earlier resumption of cross-Straits talks and the formal end of the state of hostility across the Straits, steps taken towards a peace accord, building of a framework for peaceful and steady development of cross-Straits relations, promotion of all-round economic cooperation, discussion of Taiwan's participation in international activities after the resumption of cross-Straits dialogue and establishment of a platform for regular exchanges between CPC and KMT.

    Lien and his delegation also visited the ancient Chinese capital Xi'an in northwestern Shaanxi Province, where he paid homage to his grandmother's tomb.

    The KMT was China's ruling party before 1949, when it lost the civil war to the Communist Party of China (CPC) and retreated to the island of Taiwan. It ruled Taiwan for around 50 years before becoming an opposition party. Enditem

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