By Wu Wei in Nanjing and Zhang Yiwei in Beijing
Wang Yu-chi, chief of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Wednesday paid tribute at the mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen, revered on both sides of the Straits as the statesman who ended imperial rule in China.
Wang led a delegation of more than 20 people to the mausoleum in Nanjing, East China’s Jiangsu Province Wednesday morning. He laid a wreath at Sun’s mausoleum, the former Kuomingtang leader often referred to as the “forerunner of the democratic revolution” in China, and bowed to his statue.
In a statement made after the visit, Wang said that the Chinese mainland and Taiwan need to be pragmatic to solve disputes and forge a stable long-term relationship.
“Cross-Straits relations over the past 65 years had their worst moment when the two sides almost came to war. However, since 2008, regular talks and closer cooperation, based on the 1992 Consensus, have promoted peace and stability in the region,” he said.
The consensus refers to the “one-China” principle and its respective verbal wording of both sides, and facilitates personnel exchange between MAC and the mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council (TAO).
“The founding father Sun Yat-sen established the first democratic republic state in Asia, the Republic of China, 103 years ago. I am excited that as the chief of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council that I could finally pay my respects at the mausoleum,” said Wang.
He also claimed that Sun’s political ideology has been realized in Taiwan and that both sides should face the political reality across the Straits.
This was the first time Wang mentioned “Republic of China” in his two-day trip and the fourth time he talked about “facing the political reality.”
Chang Wu-ueh, a political science scholar from Tamkang University in Taiwan, told the media that Wang’s visit is of special significance as he is the first politician from Taiwan to visit Sun Yat-sen’s mausoleum as a government official.
“It is a rare and important progress that cross-Straits relations could reach this point. Both sides should value the accomplishment and move forward from the current basis,” said Zhang.
Wang met formally with Zhang Zhijun, head of TAO, in a historic meeting on Tuesday and agreed to set up a mechanism for regular communication between the two sides.
Both Zhang and Wang addressed each other by their official titles at the meeting.
Their meeting is considered a landmark breakthrough in cross-Straits relations and the result of deepening mutual political trust.
Wang visited Nanjing University Wednesday to give a speech to students and faculty, encouraging young people to build harmonious cross-Straits ties.