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Cross-Strait efforts urged for national rejuvenation

By ZHANG YI in Xiamen, Fujian and HU MEIDONG in Fuzhou | China Daily | Updated: 2023-06-19


The 15th Straits Forum opened on Saturday in Xiamen, Fujian province. [Photo/IC]

People from Taiwan have said that the congratulatory letter from Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Chinese president, has boosted their confidence in the integrated and peaceful development of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

In the congratulatory letter sent on Saturday to the 15th Straits Forum, Xi called for joint efforts of compatriots across the Strait to promote Chinese culture and forge closer bonds. The forum opened in Xiamen, Fujian province, on Friday.

Calling the forum an important platform for people on both sides of the Strait to broadly engage in exchanges and promote cooperation, Xi expressed in the letter his hope that the forum will constantly inject vitality into people-to-people exchanges and integrated development across the Strait.

"We will continue to respect, care for and deliver benefits to the Taiwan compatriots, promote cross-Strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, and advance cross-Strait integrated development in various fields," Xi said.

He called on people from both sides of the Strait 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-Strait relations and the cause of national reunification.

Wang Huning, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, read out the letter from Xi at the forum's main conference, which was held on Saturday.

Wang said the letter fully embodies the deep concern and care for Taiwan compatriots. The mainland will continue to promote cross-Strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation, deepen the integrated development of various fields across the Strait, and create benefits for Taiwan compatriots, Wang added.

He called on people on both sides of the Strait to strive for national rejuvenation and share the opportunities brought by Chinese modernization.

Wang said that the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations is the right path for safeguarding cross-Strait peace and stability and promoting common development.

He said people across the Strait must resolutely oppose separatist activities seeking "Taiwan independence" and external interference.

Only by upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence" can cross-Strait relations return to the right path of peaceful development, Wang said.

Hsia Li-yan, vice-chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang, the island's main opposition party, said that the KMT is committed to the political foundation of upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence", and will promote cross-Strait economic and cultural exchanges and cooperation while working for cross-Strait peace and stability.

"We all advocate more communication between the two sides, which is a trend, so I am happy to attend the forum in Xiamen this year," he said.

The forum was jointly held by the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, the Fujian provincial government and more than 80 institutions and organizations from across the Strait.

Attended by around 5,000 people from various sectors of Taiwan, the forum is the biggest grassroots-level exchange event across the Strait held after the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was announced at the forum that the mainland has formulated a document on supporting Fujian to explore a new road for cross-Strait integrated development and build a demonstration zone for such development.

Shen Chieh, 33, from Taiwan, who has been living on the mainland for about 20 years, said he has adapted to local conditions and become part of such integration. He works as a lawyer in Beijing and has married a local resident, and they have children.

Shen, who attended the forum, said he was greatly encouraged by Xi's letter, as it shows that the mainland attaches great importance to cross-Strait exchanges.

A series of beneficial policies rolled out by the mainland have attracted young people from Taiwan to seek opportunities on the mainland due to slower salary growth in Taiwan, he said.

Lei Chien, chairwoman of the National Women's League in Taiwan, who also attended the forum, said the letter from Xi sends a signal that the trend of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation is unstoppable.

"He expressed a deep hope for the peaceful development of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait and showed great goodwill to Taiwan through the letter," said Lei, who is a former member of the "legislative authority" on the island.

Although the ruling Democratic Progressive Party authorities in Taiwan and some countries often hype up a potential war across the Strait, it can be seen from the letter and the Straits Forum that more people are working for peaceful development, she said.

"Most important, the mainland has firmly grasped the direction of peaceful development across the Strait," she added.

Zhu Songling, a professor at Beijing Union University's Institute of Taiwan Studies, said the event helps defuse the tense situation and atmosphere between the two sides of the Strait that the ruling Democratic Progressive Party authorities have been hyping up.

He said that as the island's leadership election is expected in January, the DPP is very fearful of cross-Strait exchanges, so it has been obstructing exchanges and cooperation, especially on such a large scale as the forum.

Even so, there are many political parties and groups on the island that want to exchange and cooperate with the mainland, as they know that communication and cooperation are the fundamental channel to resolve differences, Zhu said.

"Therefore, they dare to break through the obstruction of the DPP and boldly cross the Strait to the mainland, as a result of the public opinion and the trend of the times," he said.

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