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New dawn descends over Straits

作者:Xinhua | 来源:网络转摘 | 时间:2008-12-15
按此在新窗口浏览图片A new era in cross-Straits relations begins today with the launch of daily direct air, shipping and postal services.

The end of a nearly six-decade ban on direct links imposed by Taipei is widely expected to strengthen growing economic ties and benefit millions of people across the Straits.

Prominent politicians, including Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou and Kuomintang (KMT) honorary chairman Lien Chan, will attend inauguration ceremonies in Taiwan and on the mainland to mark the historic occasion.

The first ships, from Evergreen and Yang Ming Marine in Taiwan, are scheduled to depart from Kaohsiung and Keelung harbors for the mainland around noon.

Two ships of mainland companies China Shipping and China Ocean Shipping (COSCO) will set sail from Shanghai and Tianjin.

A total of 20 ships will set sail on the first day.

Wang Yi, minister of Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, Chen Yunlin, president of the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS), and Lien will attend the Tianjin ceremony to see off the COSCO ship.

The ship will reach Taiwan in four days, Liao Xiaoyu, director of Taiwan affairs office of Tianjin, said yesterday. Earlier, a ship taking an indirect route needed seven to eight days to reach the island.

Sixteen passenger flights will take off from the mainland and Taiwan on the first day of direct links, expanding the weekend charter services that began in July.

China Southern Airlines will be the first mainland carrier to carry cargo across the Straits, from Guangzhou to Taipei. Up to 60 cargo planes will fly across the Straits every month, according to agreements signed on Nov 4.

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