BEIJING, Feb. 21 -- Xi Jinping's recent speech on cross-Strait relations showed the courage and commitment to face up to political differences, said the mainland's Taiwan affairs chief here Friday.
When meeting visiting Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan in Beijing on Tuesday, Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, suggested that the two sides talk about political differences on an equal basis under the One-China principle.
Cross-Strait relations have moved into uncharted waters, said Zhang Zhijun, director of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, in an interview with Xinhua.
"There will be more difficult problems. Compared with other issues, political differences between the two sides are much harder but can no longer be put aside," Zhang said.
The two sides of the Taiwan Strait will need greater courage and confidence to handle political issues and push the relations further, he said.
Last October, at a meeting with Vincent Siew, honorary chairman of the Taiwan-based Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation, ahead of the 21st informal economic leaders' meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in Bali of Indonesia, Xi said the two sides will have to settle political disputes step by step, instead of delaying it forever.
"Xi showed the courage and sense of responsibility as a statesman," Zhang said.
The Chinese mainland and Taiwan made a breakthrough last week as their chiefs of cross-Strait affairs met formally for the first time since 1949 in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province. Zhang attributed the meeting to a proposal from Xi.
Since 2008 the two sides have improved their relations to an unprecedented degree, particularly in terms of political mutual trust, Zhang said.
"However, such trust is not solid enough and shaken from time to time," he said, adding that this is why Xi stressed adhering to the 1992 Consensus, opposing "Taiwan independence", and fostering the common understanding of One China.
In his speech, Xi showed an open attitude towards what Taiwan people think of and want, as well as the sincerity to work through the historic problems with them, Zhang said.
The major point of his speech is that the two sides of the Strait are family and the mainland will treat Taiwan compatriots as their blood, no matter where they are originated and which ethnic groups they belong to, Zhang said.