New Taipei mayor, China's Taiwan affairs head want more exchanges
Central News Agency
2014-06-26 09:57 PM
Taipei, June 26 (CNA) The mayor of Taiwan's most populous city said that Taiwan and China should continue seeking exchanges while respecting differences, a proposal countered by China's Taiwan affairs minister with a suggestion of "resolving" those differences. New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu made his comments at a press conference held after he met with Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun in the northern city. The two talked during a 30-minute meeting that came on the second day of Zhang's four-day visit to Taiwan, the first such visit by China's top official in charge of Taiwan ties. Chu said that China should respect the ideas and decisions made by the people of Taiwan as the two sides continue to work toward finding more common ground. He cited as an example oversight of cross-strait agreements that take into account which local businesses will benefit from and which will be impacted by trade pacts. In response, Zhang said Taiwan and China should create conditions favorable to cross-strait exchanges and "endeavor to resolve the differences" between them. Speaking after the meeting, Zhang told reporters that he and Chu exchanged a range of views on cross-strait ties over the past 65 years, and both agreed that ties should continue being developed to benefit the people of both Taiwan and China. Before the meeting, Zhang and Chu visited an adult daycare center in the city's Tucheng District to have lunch with senior citizens. Both Zhang and Chu expressed interest in bilateral exchanges in senior care. Zhang also said that in terms of economic cooperation, Taiwan and China should pay more attention to small- and medium-sized businesses to allow them to play a major role in cross-strait exchanges as they provided up to 70-80 percent of jobs. Zhang also said he was happy to spend his first full day in Taiwan meeting local people in New Taipei, which he said allowed him to hear the voices of the people at grassroots level. "I really got involved in Taiwan's society" directly and not through the media or books, he said. Noting that city-to-city, cultural, economic and trade exchanges between Taiwan and China are of great importance to both sides, Zhang said he hopes more exchanges and communication will be conducted between people on grassroots levels. He noted in particular that the number of Chinese visitors welcomed into Taiwan over the years has exceeded 10 million, and he encouraged more Taiwanese to continue visiting China. Meanwhile, Chen Chu, the mayor of the southern city of Kaohsiung and a member of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, said she will brief Zhang on her city's development in the hopes that they can enhance mutual understanding during their meeting Friday. Chen said she hopes Zhang will be able to hear more diverse voices from all around Taiwan during his visit. (By Wang Hung-kuo, Sunrise Huang, Wang Shwu-fen and Evelyn Kao)
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