Beijing urges Taiwan to lift barriers to cross-strait ties

BEIJING • China will expand exchanges with Taiwan if the island removes obstacles hindering cross-strait communications, a Chinese spokesman said on Wednesday, after many newly elected county and city heads said they expected more cooperation with China to boost Taiwan's economy.

Mr Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said that with correct understanding of the nature of cross-strait relations, exchanges and cooperation will definitely be more extensive.

In Taiwan's local elections over the weekend, the Kuomintang won 15 of the 22 seats contested, while the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) landed six, with one going to an independent candidate.

Mr Ma said it was the DPP that had erected obstacles to cross-strait exchanges in the previous two years. "The sooner they remove the barriers, the sooner people from both sides can enjoy the benefits of cross-strait exchanges."

He said the DPP should conduct a deep review of what it has done, respect the strong will of the public in Taiwan to share the benefits of peaceful development, and return to the political foundation of the 1992 Consensus on the "one China" policy.

Newly elected Kuomintang county and city chiefs all publicly declared that they will uphold the 1992 Consensus and that they expected more cooperation with China to stimulate economic development.

Mr Han Kuo-yu, the Kuomintang Mayor-Elect of Kaohsiung, one of Taiwan's biggest cities, said he will set up a special office to deal with cross-strait affairs.

Mr Bao Chengke, deputy director of the Cross-Strait Communication and Regional Development Institute at East China Normal University in Shanghai, said that even if the island's authorities still imposed restrictions on mutual exchanges, the interaction between cities can still move forward. "For those cities with the correct stand, like Kaohsiung, the cooperation that had stopped before will be continued and expanded now to benefit more people across the strait."

Next month, a forum between Shanghai and Taipei will kick off in Taipei. Separately, a cross-strait baseball event involving more than 800 participants will be held in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 30, 2018, with the headline 'Beijing urges Taiwan to lift barriers to cross-strait ties'. Print Edition | Subscribe