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Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chinese president, called on people from both sides of the Taiwan Straits to work together to keep pace with the trends of history, safeguard the overall interests of the Chinese nation and contribute to the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations and the cause of national reunification.
These remarks were made in his Saturday congratulatory letter to the 15th Straits Forum which is held in Xiamen, East China’s Fujian Province.
Calling the Straits Forum an important platform for people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits to broadly engage in exchanges and promote cooperation, Xi expressed his hope that the forum will constantly inject vitality into people-to-people exchanges and the integrated development across the Straits.
We will continue to respect, care for and deliver benefits to the Taiwan compatriots, promote cross-Straits economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, and advance integrated development in various fields, he said.
Lei Chien, member of National Women’s League (in Taiwan) and a former member of the legislative authority on the island, told media during the forum she was impressed by Xi’s deep hope for peaceful development across the Straits and the goodwill for Taiwan.
The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities and certain forces in the international community have portrayed the cross-Straits situation as being on the brink of military conflict, but the congratulatory letter and the entire forum indicate that more people are actively striving for peace, Lei told the Global Times at the forum’s main conference on Saturday. She further highlighted that the mainland has mastered the direction of peaceful development.
Wang Huning, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, addressed the main conference in which he announced that CPC Central Committee and the State Council has decided to support Fujian’s efforts in exploring and establishing the province as a demonstration area for cross-Straits integrated development.
People across the Straits should firmly support integrated development and common prosperity, resolutely oppose the evil path of seeking independence with foreign backing and creating confrontation and conflicts, Wang said. He criticized secessionist forces for creating cross-Straits division, tension and risk of military conflict.
Justin Lin Yifu, former chief economist of the World Bank and a professor of economics at Peking University, delivered a keynote speech at the main conference, in which he said although the world is experiencing turbulence and undergoing geopolitical crises such as the China-US tensions, when China’s GDP per capita reaches 50 percent of the US, the world order will be stabilized again.
Lin predicted that at that time, China’s economic size will be twice of that of the US, and in developed regions such as Beijing, Shanghai, the Yangtze River Delta Area, and the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area, the GDP per capita will reach levels comparable to that of the US.
Lin urged Taiwan compatriots to seize the golden opportunity presented by the mainland’s development, citing his personal experience of fleeing from Kinmen County, which is under the control of the Taiwan authorities, to Xiamen in 1979, and how he went on to become the first chief economist of the World Bank from a developing country. He used this example to explain that the individuals’ destinies, values and dreams will be realized and maximized through the development of the motherland.
Shou Yan-xuan, who runs a medical group in Xiamen, shared his own perspective. After embarking on a career in the mainland, he learned about the mainland’s rich history, culture, and fast advancements in science and economy, which is greatly different from what he had learned on the island.
Shou called on Taiwan youth to come and see with their own eyes. “The mainland’s potential and future are beyond your imagination,” He said.
Attendees from various sectors in Taiwan, including the business community, delegates of political parties, media personnel, religious figures and representatives of grassroots civil organizations, shared with the Global Times their expectations for the future of cross-Straits integration. Many of them have met their friends in the mainland after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted and exchanges normalized.
Zheng Bo-yu, vice-president of the Taiwan Youth Council Beijing Association for Taiwan Enterprises, told the Global Times on site that he was glad to see many attendees from all walks of life in Taiwan to come to share their stories and make friends, which aligns precisely with President Xi’s expectation for the forum.
Zheng looks forward to more Taiwan-born youth who have established their careers in the mainland sharing their stories, as they can be highly persuasive for those who are still uncertain about their future paths.
Zheng also hailed the establishment of the demonstration area, which is expected to introduce more supportive policies to facilitate cross-Straits exchanges. “I am considering setting up an office in Fujian as it will be more convenient to carry out business than from the Beijing office,” Zheng said.
Hsia Li-yan, vice chairman of the Kuomintang, the main opposition party in Taiwan island, said at the main conference that he hopes the cross-Straits exchanges can be fully recovered to the level before the COVID-19 pandemic. He also expressed hopes for resuming cooperation between the two sides of the Straits on fighting crimes, jurisdictional matters, and quarantine inspection on agriculture products.
The cross-Straits cooperation in these fields have been disrupted due to the DPP authorities’ refusal to admit the 1992 Consensus and their pursuit of a secessionist agenda with the support of foreign forces. As the DPP authorities show no sincerity in rectifying their serious mistakes, experts suggested the mainland could consider resuming local-to-local cooperation with Taiwan regions governed by the Kuomintang.