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Mainland's top cross-Straits negotiator dies
By Xing Zhigang (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-12-26 05:27

Condolences and tributes have been pouring in from around the mainland and across the Taiwan Straits following the death of Wang Daohan, the mainland's top negotiator with Taiwan, who helped open the door to cross-Straits talks in the early 1990s.

Wang, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), passed away in Shanghai on Saturday at 90.

Mainland's top cross-Straits negotiator dies
Wang Daohan
A mourning hall will be set up at Wang's home in Shanghai but the date of his funeral service has not been decided.

Born in 1915 in East China's Anhui Province, Wang served as secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC), and vice-mayor and mayor of Shanghai between 1980 and 1986.

In December 1991, he took over the presidency of the ARATS, a semi-official body for dealing with cross-Straits ties in the absence of official links between the two sides.

In April 1993, Wang and Koo Chen-fu, then chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), held the first ever cross-Straits high-level, non-governmental talks since 1949 in Singapore.

In October 1998, they held the second talks in Shanghai and reached a four-point consensus involving cross-Straits dialogue on political issues.

The landmark Wang-Koo meetings were considered milestones in cross-Straits relations by starting rapprochement between the mainland and Taiwan.

The Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, the mainland's top government body in charge of cross-Straits ties, told China Daily yesterday that it would hold a memorial service for Wang at its office today. The service is open to the public.

On Saturday, leaders of three major opposition parties in Taiwan offered their deep condolences over Wang's death while hailing his great contribution to the development of cross-Straits ties.

Wang played an important role in promoting cross-Straits relations and made great contributions to the development of peaceful exchanges across the Taiwan Straits, said Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Ma Ying-jeou in his message of condolence to the ARATS. KMT honorary chairman Lien Chan praised Wang as a model for successors in dealing with cross-Straits ties.

James Soong, chairman of the People First Party (PFP), and New Party Chairman Yok Mu-ming also expressed their appreciation and admiration for Wang's efforts to push for better cross-Straits ties.

Taiwan's SEF also sent a letter of consolation to the ARATS on Saturday, expressing deep sorrow at Wang's death.

The SEF would like to send a representative to Wang's funeral if his family allows, said You Ying-lung, secretary-general of the SEF.

(China Daily 12/26/2005 page1)

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