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Strait forum focus on culture

THIS year's Fifth Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum in Changsha, capital of central China's Hunan Province, will focus on enhancing cultural and educational cooperation, the Communist Party of China Central Committee Taiwan Work Office Director Wang Yi said yesterday.

He was welcoming Kuomintang Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung and his delegation at Changsha airport.

"A peaceful development of cross-strait relations not only needs economic drive, but cultural impetus as well," Wang said, adding that the forum would be "another pageant for cross-strait exchanges and dialogue" and "unveil an exciting curtain for cross-strait cultural and educational exchanges in a new age."

Wu said in addition to economic links between the mainland and Taiwan, shared ancestry and culture were the main force behind the peaceful development of cross-strait relations.

"Both peoples are Chinese descendants and have the same cultural background. Although there are cultural differences between the two sides, they are complementary," Wu said.

On leaving Taipei, Wu said he welcomed people from all walks of life outside the KMT and the CPC to the forum to exchange opinions.

He said the forum had focused on economics and trade in the past, but this time it would focus on cultural issues, with topics including inheritance and innovation of Chinese culture, complementary collaboration of cultural industries between the mainland and Taiwan and cross-strait educational exchanges. The establishment of the forum was agreed upon between the CPC and KMT leaders in April 2005. The mainland plans to announce a series of preferential policies for Taiwan at the forum.

About 500 people from the mainland and Taiwan will attend the forum, 270 of whom are from Taiwan, including representatives from the cultural, educational and trade circles and student representatives.

Chairman Wu will be joined by Yok Mu-ming, chairman of Taiwan's New Party, Chin Chin-sheng, secretary-general of the People First Party, and Lin Pin-kuan, chairman of the Non-Partisan Solidarity Union.

A symposium on economic and trade cooperation across the Taiwan Strait will also be held during the two-day forum.


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