Cross-Straits forum adopts 17 proposals
Updated: 2012-07-29 19:22
HARBIN - The 8th Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Culture Forum closed Sunday in Harbin, capital of Northeast China's Heilongjiang province, with the adoption of 17 proposals for promoting cross-Strait ties.
"The most prominent feature of this forum is that the two sides, for the first time, held comprehensive and inclusive discussions on the development of cross-Straits relations," Wang Yi, the Chinese mainland's Taiwan affairs chief, said at the closing ceremony.
Previous forums, however, had generally focused on discussions of individual topics, said Wang, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
Cross-Straits relations have realized a historic turn and saw breakthrough development in the past four years, he said.
Authorities from both sides should seize the opportunities to overcome the difficulties ahead of us, as cross-Straits ties are facing both "bright prospects and various challenges" in the future, he said.
The joint proposals acknowledged that "peaceful development" is the correct path for furthering cross-Straits relations, he said, adding that such development is also in line with the common interests of people on both sides of the Straits as well as the Chinese nation.
Participants from the mainland and Taiwan urged authorities from the two sides to enhance communication and dialogue and shelve differences on the basis of opposing "Taiwanese independence" and adhering to the 1992 Consensus.
"The proposals adopted at the forum will play an important guiding role in pushing forward policies concerning relations between the mainland and Taiwan," Wang said.
In the proposals, participants urged the two sides to speed up follow-up discussions on the cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which took effect in 2010, and strive to conclude negotiations on the service trade agreement by the end of this year.
The participants also urged the two sides to ink the agreement on investment protection and promotion at an early date and set up a cross-Straits currency settlement mechanism as soon as possible so as to boost two-way balanced investment development across the Strait.
Participants also called on the two sides to further push forward cooperation in such sectors as tourism, culture, finance, agriculture, investment, education and youth exchanges, as well as publishing and film cooperation.
The two-day forum, which was sponsored by the CPC and the Kuomintang (KMT), attracted hundreds of senior officials from the CPC and KMT, government officials and scholars as well as representatives from the trade, financial, tourism, education, publishing, film and television industries.