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Forum unites cross-Straits officials
By Bao Xinyan (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-07-07 06:08

NANJING: China's mainland and Taiwan yesterday voiced their common aspirations to intensify all-round co-operation between their counties and small cities.

Two hundred people, 100 councillors from 18 cities and counties in Taiwan and 100 National People's Congress (NPC) deputies from Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces, and Shanghai attended the "200 Forum" that opened in Nanjing, capital of East China's Jiangsu Province, yesterday morning.

The forum, which carries the slogan "cross-Straits co-operation, common development," is being held to discuss ways to promote co-operation and exchanges in economic, cultural and urban development sectors.

"This is a new form of cross-Straits communication," Cheng Siwei, vice-chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, said at the opening ceremony.

"We appreciate the opportunity to talk with NPC deputies from the mainland on behalf of our people. I suggest it become an annual forum with its own mechanism," said Huang Shan-shan, a councillor from Taipei.

"The councillors here will take back their good impression and opinions of the mainland to people in Taiwan," she emphasized. "If every one of them can influence 5,000 voters, it will be like planting 5,000 seeds in Taiwan. These seeds will tell people around them, including their relatives, friends and colleagues, about the mainland, which will greatly promote cross-Straits understanding."

"How to seize the opportunity and develop together is a common problem shared by people across the Taiwan Straits," Cheng said. "We have so many things to share in economy, culture and municipal construction."

Wu Chun-Li, speaker of Taiwan's Taitung Council said that his county and Wuxi in Jiangsu Province started their friendly relationship as early as 1999, exchanging delegations and making investments.

He called for more communication between cities and counties across the Taiwan Straits to create a win-win situation for both sides.

Hung Kuo-chih, a councillor from Taoyuan County, said he would spare no effort in promoting cultural communication between ethnic minority groups across the Straits.

Du Mingcong, vice-director of the Standing Committee of the People's Congress in Xiamen, Fujian Province, attended the group discussion on municipal construction.

"We can exchange in many fields of city construction, such as environmental protection, planning and management," he said.

Statistics given by Cheng Siwei show that there are more and more exchanges cross the Straits.

Since 1987, people from Taiwan have paid 33.9 million visits to the mainland and there have been 1 million trips taken in the opposite direction, growing by an average of 20 per cent every year.

The Chinese mainland is Taiwan's biggest export market, accounting for a quarter of Taiwan's total exports.

(China Daily 07/07/2005 page2)

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