New head of Taiwan Affairs Office calls for joint efforts for national reunification in New Year message
Published: Jan 03, 2023 12:48 AM
A view of the Taipei city, Taiwan island Photo: Unsplash

A view of the Taipei city, Taiwan island Photo: Unsplash

A senior official on the Chinese mainland called for joint efforts from both sides of the Taiwan Straits to work toward the goals of national rejuvenation and national reunification.

Song Tao, head of both the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, made the remarks in a New Year's message carried in the first issue of the "Relations Across Taiwan Strait" magazine in 2023. In the 1800-word New Year's message, Song used the word "peace" seven times. 

Song, born in 1955, was announced to have been appointed head of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee and head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on Wednesday, replacing Liu Jieyi, according to the office's website.

Before that, Song served as deputy head of the committee on education, science, health and sports under the 13th Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference National Committee, the country's top political advisory body since June 2022.

From November 2015 to June 2022, he served as head of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee.

The New Year's message for 2023 is the first New Year's message he has made in new roles. 

Song said that the Chinese mainland maintained the initiative and ability to steer cross-Strait relations and united compatriots from both sides of the Taiwan Strait to advance cross-Strait ties in 2022.

Continued efforts were made in the year to make the historical merits of the Taiwan question and mainland's major principles and policies on work related to Taiwan clear to compatriots in Taiwan and to the international community, said Song.

The mainland took concrete measures to support Taiwan compatriots and businesses and help them resolve difficulties, noted Song.

China continued the fight against separatist activities and external intervention in affairs regarding Taiwan, effectively deterring external forces who attempted to use Taiwan to contain China, said Song.

The results of the new round of local elections on the island have shown that seeking peace, stability, and development are the mainstream public opinion in Taiwan society. The "Taiwan independence" secessionists' manipulation of "resisting China to protect Taiwan" is unpopular, and "relying on foreign countries to seek independence" is doomed to fail, Song said.

The Democratic Progressive Party got five out of 21 posts of "city mayors" and "county chiefs" and the Kuomintang (KMT) grasped 13 in the latest round of elections on the island in late November. In the six "special municipalities," namely New Taipei, Taipei, Taoyuan, Taichung, Tainan and Kaohsiung, four were in the KMT's hands while the DPP kept Tainan and Kaohsiung in the south. 

Observers say the results were a loud "No" of people in the island to DPP authorities' policies on a wide range of topics related to people's livelihoods including the chaotic COVID-19 response and the failure to rein in rising prices, and also demonstrated that Tsai Ing-wen's "China threat bet" has backfired.

Song listed the efforts the mainland has made in 2022 toward peaceful reunification.

The cross-Straits trade and the investment in the mainland from the Taiwan island remained generally stable throughout the year. Some 10 Taiwan companies were listed on the mainland, and the total number of listed companies from the island on the mainland increased to 59. 

More than 600 key cross-Straits exchange projects, including the 14th Straits Forum, the 2022 annual summit for entrepreneurs across the Taiwan Straits, and the Cross-Straits Youth Summit were successfully held, with more than 100,000 online and offline participants from both sides. 

Students from the Taiwan island are also actively enrolling in mainland universities, and the number of admissions has increased by 22 percent in 2022 compared with that in 2021.  

"In 2023, we will uphold the policy of peaceful reunification and One Country, Two Systems and carry out extensive and in-depth discussions on cross-Straits ties and national reunification with people of foresight from various sectors of Taiwan society on the basis of one-China principle and the 1992 Consensus," Song said.

"We will resolutely defend our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and take firm action against separatist activities and external intervention," Song added.

Global Times