BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Chinese mainland will expand exchanges with Taiwan if the island removes obstacles hindering cross-Strait communications, a mainland spokesman said on Wednesday (Nov 28) after many newly elected county and city heads said they expect more cooperation with the mainland to boost their economy.
Mr Ma Xiaoguang, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said that with a correct understanding of the nature of cross-Strait relations, the exchanges and cooperation between counties and cities will definitely be more extensive.
In Taiwan's local elections over the weekend, the Kuomintang won 15 of the 22 seats being contested, while the ruling Democratic Progressive Party landed six, and one going to an independent candidate.
Mr Ma said it was the island's Democratic Progressive Party that had erected obstacles to cross-Strait exchanges in the previous two years.
"We need more time to observe whether the expectations will be realised," he said.
"The sooner they remove the barriers, the sooner people from both sides can enjoy the benefits of cross-Strait exchanges," the spokesman added.
He said the Democratic Progressive Party 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 expect more cooperation with the mainland 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 move forward.
"For those cities with correct stand like Kaohsiung, the cooperation that had stopped before will be continued and expanded now to benefit more people across the Strait," he added.
Next month, a forum between Shanghai and Taipei will kick off in Taipei.
Separately, a cross-Strait baseball event involving over 800 participants will be held in Shenzhen, Guangdong province.