Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou Monday gave thanks to the mainland for its relief support for the island's storm victims in a new sign that Taiwan is pushing for closer cross-Straits ties.
The mainland has donated 1,000 prefabricated houses and about 5 billion New Taiwan dollars ($152 million), the largest sum of relief that the island has received, Ma said.
It proves that the bond between the two sides is like blood, which is "thicker than water," he said.
He made the statement at a memorial service in southern Taiwan's Kaohsiung city for victims killed by Typhoon Morakot, the worst storm to hit the island in 50 years.
Typhoon Morakot killed an estimated 670 people when it slammed into Taiwan between Aug 8-9, triggering floods and mudslides in and around some 40 villages.
Ma took a position of thankfulness after Chiang Pin-kung, chairman of the island's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and the island's chief negotiator with the mainland, said that the Taiwan society owed a sincere "thank you" to the mainland.
Chiang said the mainland has been offering great kindness and help to the island since the natural disaster struck Taiwan.