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With the theme, "Expanding exchanges, strengthening cooperation and promoting development", the second Strait Forum kicked off in Xiamen in Fujian province on Sunday. Promoting people to people exchanges at grassroots levels is the main focus of the forum. Yuan Yani has more.
Top political advisor, Jia Qinglin, welcomed the forum's opening.
Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said in the past two years, exchanges between the two sides of the Strait have intensified. Direct links in trade, postal services, and shipping have been established.
Last year, the tourism industry in Taiwan grew rapidly, due to increased visits from the mainland. Passenger flow cross the strait reached more than 5 million.
Jia Qinglin, CPPCC Chairman said "People to people exchanges at grassroots level are the major driving force in cross-strait relations. It is the best way to expand commen interests and deepen communication."
Wang Yi, the director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, also attended the forum. He gave a briefing on the issue of signing an Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement.
He said negotiations were into their final phase, and that substantial progress has been made.
Wang Yi, Director of Taiwan Affairs Office, State Council said "In the negotiations, we fully took into account the weaker industries, the interests of the farmers in Taiwan, and evaluated the needs of different trades in different areas."
Huang Ming-Hui,vice chair of the Kuomintang Party, warmly welcomed the increased cross-strait communication.
Huang Ming-hui, Vice Chair of Kuomintang Party said "Taiwan warmly welcomes you. I think the most important factor in cross-strait discussions is to listen to the voice of the people."
The week-long forum co-hosted by nine cities in Fujian Province has drawn more than 10,000 Taiwan guests to 25 activities,which include informal discussions, galas, and religious worship. Delegates see the event as a major opportunity for face to face exchanges on issues concerning development across the Taiwan Strait.