China leader to Taiwan: maintain liberalization

Chinese Communist Party chief Zhao Ziyang Thursday called on the new leadership of Taiwan to bolster the ``promising momentum'' in its relations with mainland China and strive for national reunification. The cordial tone of Mr. Zhao's remarks underscored Peking's eagerness to expand the flood of informal contacts between Taiwan and China authorized last fall by the late President Chiang Ching-kuo.

More than 16,000 Taiwan residents have flocked to mainland China to visit relatives, tour, and do business since Chiang lifted a 38-year ban on such travel last November. Sports, cultural, and educational exchanges have also increased.

Zhao also reiterated China's commitment to a peaceful reunification with the island, in an apparent effort to reassure Taiwan's untested leadership that Peking has no intention of threatening its rule.

``We sincerely hope to see stability and social tranquility, as well as continued economic growth ... in Taiwan,'' the official New China News Agency quoted the Chinese Communist Party chief as saying.

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