XIAMEN • Top political adviser Yu Zhengsheng has said China remained committed to promoting people-to-people exchanges, and economic and social development across the Taiwan Strait amid tensions with Taiwan.
Mr Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks yesterday when he addressed the ninth Straits Forum held in Xiamen in south-east China's Fujian province.
China regards Taiwan as a renegade province to be brought back under its sovereignty by force, if necessary.
Cross-strait ties have deteriorated since the election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen and her pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party last year as Ms Tsai has not acknowledged the 1992 Consensus - a tacit agreement between both sides that there is only one China.
Analysts said Beijing has intensified efforts to reduce Taiwan's international space since then. The latest blow came from Panama, which said last Monday it had broken with Taiwan to forge ties with Beijing.
Noting that the peaceful development of cross-strait relations had endured "a severe adversity since last year", Mr Yu was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying that mainland China would not change its commitment.
He added that more than 20 policies that benefit the residence, education and employment of Taiwanese in China had been issued.
Mr Yu called on "compatriots across the strait to overcome interferences by working together", saying that adherence to the 1992 Consensus and peaceful development of cross-strait relations were prerequisites of further integration, Xinhua reported.
"Taiwan independence" is the biggest threat to peace, stability and the fundamental interests of people across the strait, said Mr Yu.
"Compatriots across the strait should resolutely oppose various secession activities damaging the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation and safeguard the shared home of both sides," Mr Yu said.
Taiwanese Foreign Minister David Lee, speaking at the Taoyuan International Airport last Saturday while waiting to receive diplomats returning from Panama, was quoted by Central News Agency as saying: "With the other side of the Taiwan Strait clearly intending to take the offensive, we cannot but face it head on."