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Taiwan welcomes mainland tourists warmly

Mild almond tea, American-style fried eggs, cakes and fresh fruits was what Soong Mei-ling, wife of Chiang Kai-shek, usually had for breakfast.  And that's exactly what a group of tourists from Guangdong province had on Saturday morning. They had reached Taiwan a day earlier. "We enjoyed the breakfast very much," said Wen Qian, beaming with excitement. 

Members of the first tourist group to Taiwan from Shanghai board a China Eastern charter flight at Pudong International Airport July 4, 2008. 

"We felt we were being treated like kings when we saw the spread. We were overjoyed when told that the breakfast was prepared by the Taipei tourism authorities and the hotel especially for us," the Beijing Youth Daily quoted Wen as having said yesterday.

"We felt like film stars when journalists clicked our photographs. Moreover, many Taiwan people greeted us on the streets they must have come to know about our arrival through the Taiwan media," he said.

Wen said they could feel the warmth and intimacy of the Taiwan people everywhere they went. Wen is part of one of the first mainland groups to fly directly to Taiwan in six decades. He reached Taiwan with his group on Friday on one of the chartered weekend flights.

The direct flights carrying mainland tourists to Taiwan and vice-versa have been hailed by Kuomintang honorary chairman Lien Chan as a great contributor to peaceful cross-Taiwan Straits ties and the opening of a new page in China's prosperity.

"We had been waiting for the day for almost 60 years, and had gone through some difficult periods," Lien said at a meeting with Shao Qiwei, chairman of the Cross-Straits Tourism Communication Association, on Saturday.

The two events will benefit compatriots on both sides by stimulating consumption and the economy in Taiwan, and improving mutual understanding, Lien said.

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