In a speech that offers a glimpse of the mainland's latest thinking on cross-Strait relations, top political advisor Yu Zhengsheng has said the mainland will show more respect and understanding for Taiwan people's way of thinking.
"We understand the mentality Taiwan compatriots have developed under special historical conditions; we respect their identification with the current social system, values and lifestyle; and we know that some friends still harbor misgivings on the development of the cross-Strait relations," Yu said on Sunday.
Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks during a speech at the Straits Forum, as the largest annual event for cross-Strait grassroots exchanges opened in Xiamen in the southeastern province of Fujian.
In March, Taiwan students seized the headquarters of the island's legislative body in protest against a mainland-Taiwan service trade pact. Some analysts said the protest required both sides to rethink problems in cross-Strait relations.
"The development of cross-Strait relations is like sailing on the sea -- you're never going to have favorable winds throughout the voyage," Yu said.
According to Yu, cross-Strait relations are bound to encounter deeper problems as they develop, and it is important that "we give each other more understanding, respect and consideration from the perspective of one family."
"I believe as long as we consolidate opposition against 'Taiwan Independence,' adhere to the '1992 consensus' and uphold the one-China framework, the cross-Strait relations will move on steadily," he added.
The political advisor said the mainland leadership will continue to roll out measures that benefit Taiwan people, listen to people of all walks of life in Taiwan and form a better understanding of their practical needs, so cross-Strait cooperation can benefit more people.
NEW LEVEL OF UNDERSTANDING
Observers said the speech suggested a higher level of goodwill and understanding toward Taiwan and a heart-winning transition from the mainland's previous Taiwan policies that focused on mutual economic wins.
"It shows the mainland has noticed the prevalent anxiety and feelings of uncertainty in Taiwan," Yang Yizhou, vice president of the All-China Federation of Taiwan Compatriots, told Xinhua.
The speech has sent out a clear message that the mainland will respect Taiwanese people's opinions and thoughts and give them more consideration in the making of future Taiwan policies, according to Yang.p Kevin C. L. Chen, secretary-general of the Taiwan-based Sheen Chuen-Chi Cultural & Educational Foundation, said he was impressed by the mainland putting more thought into Taiwan's position.
It has greeted Taiwan with a number of economically preferential policies in the past, but as interactions reach deeper levels, Chen said, such considerate mindsets will prove vital in securing long-lasting peace and prosperity.
After the three-week student protest in March, questions have been raised as to why the service pact, which has been widely deemed as a boost to the island's lackluster economy, would cause a backfire among the Taiwanese public, particularly students.
Some protesters feared the pact would hurt the island's small and medium-sized companies and the self-employed, or the possibility of "mainland dominance of Taiwan's economy." Analysts attributed such unfounded fears to a lack of understanding, which suggested the mainland's goodwill has yet to reach some segments of the Taiwan population.
At a meeting with Taiwan's People First Party Chairman James CY Soong in May, Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, promised to "learn more about the practical needs of the Taiwan people, especially those at the grassroots, and take proactive and effective steps to take care of vulnerable groups."
YOUTH PROGRAMS IN SPOTLIGHT
Another highlight of Yu's speech was a focus on exchanges among younger generations of the mainland and Taiwan.
Yu encouraged the Taiwanese youth, who have "exceptional qualities," to realize their potential on the "broad stage" of cross-Strait cooperation.
The comment was echoed by another speech delivered at the forum by Zhang Zhijun, director of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, who called for more support for the small and medium-sized companies in the cross-Strait cooperation and expansion of youth exchange activities.
Zhang said the mainland was willing to share its market opportunities with Taiwan compatriots before anyone else.
Yang said the student protest revealed Taiwanese students' misunderstanding, unease and anxiety on cross-Strait relations. The Yu speech therefore also aimed to dispel such negative emotions.
Tseng Wen-pei, chairman of the Youth League of the KMT, Taiwan's ruling party, suggested the mainland encourage more Taiwanese to seek better-paying jobs here. It will not only solve the island's woe of low wages but also enhance their understanding and trust on the cross-Strait development, he said.