XIAMEN, June 20 (Xinhua) -- Top political advisor Jia Qinglin on Sunday called for expanded exchanges between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, saying "party and regional differences are not an issue in cross-Strait exchange."
Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, made the remarks at the second Straits Forum opened in the mainland's coastal boomtown of Xiamen Saturday.
"As long as people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait continue to forge close exchanges and interact and reduce doubt and misunderstandings, we can have more consensus on boosting the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties, promote our common recognition of the Chinese nation and culture, while contributing to the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," he said.
Wang Yi, head of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, also called for broad-based participation in cross-Strait exchanges, regardless of "regional, party and ideological differences."
"Cross-Strait exchanges should expand from the trade and economics to other fields, from cities to rural areas, and from the northern part of Taiwan to southern part of the island. Participants of the exchanges should include people at the grassroots level of society," Wang said.
The weeklong forum co-hosted by nine cities in Fujian Province has drawn more than 10,000 Taiwanese guests to 25 activities, including leisure chats, galas and religious activities. Organizers said about 80 percent of the Taiwanese participants this year would be non-officials with over 60 percent from central and southern Taiwan.
Hailing progress made in cross-Strait ties over the past two years, Jia Qinglin said a record high 5.4 million Chinese mainlanders and Taiwanese traveled across the Strait in 2009, including 330,000 Taiwanese who had never been to the mainland before.
Jia welcomed the visit of more Taiwanese compatriots to the mainland to enhance their appreciation of the mainland's social and economic development.
He also encouraged mainlanders to travel to Taiwan more, especially to the central and southern parts of the island.