Main­land’s door re­mains open to Tai­wan

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

OUR COR­RE­SPON­DENT XIAMEN—Young en­trepreneurs, vil­lage chiefs, night mar­ket ven­dors, dis­pute me­di­a­tors, me­te­o­rol­o­gists, among oth­ers, are at­tend­ing an an­nual cross-Strait ex­change event in Xiamen City.

The Straits Fo­rum that be­gan on Sun­day in Fu­jian Prov­ince, iden­ti­fied by many peo­ple in Tai­wan as their ances­tral home, is a place to dis­cuss busi­ness, friend­ship and even to find long-lost rel­a­tives.

Re­la­tions across the Tai­wan Strait are at com­pli­cated junc­ture, but the an­nual fo­rum con­tin­ues as nor­mal.

With Tsai Ing-wen tak­ing of­fice as Tai­wan’s new leader, the di­rec­tion of cross-Strait re­la­tion­ship is un­clear. This year’s fo­rum is seen as a barom­e­ter for how or­di­nary peo­ple feel about the sit­u­a­tion.

To the ca­sual ob­server, the event looks bet­ter than ever, with new ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing in­no­va­tion and youth en­trepreneur­ship fo­rums.

China’s top po­lit­i­cal ad­vi­sor Yu Zheng­sheng told the open­ing cer­e­mony on Sun­day morn­ing that the more com­pli­cated cross-Strait re­la­tions be­come, the more or­di­nary peo­ple need to get to­gether. Yu be­lieves that a bet­ter fu­ture re­quires peace and co­op­er­a­tion across the board.

Re­la­tions have come a long way since the main­land and Tai­wan be- gan to talk se­ri­ously to one an­other in 1987. A new phase of friendly in­ter­ac­tion be­gan in 2008, with the first Straits Fo­rum held the fol­low­ing year. In 2015, mutual vis­its across the Strait ex­ceeded 100 mil­lion per­sons.

The main­land has done a lot to make it eas­ier for main­lan­ders to visit the is­land and for is­landers to come ashore. A plethora of poli­cies, most no­tably re­mov­ing en­try per­mit bar­ri­ers for Tai­wan res­i­dents, show the main­land walk­ing the walk.

On Sun­day, Yu made it clear that the main­land would con­tinue to make it eas­ier for Tai­wan’s peo­ple to live and work on the main­land if they chose, and would sup­port Tai­wan’s busi­nesses on the main­land in re­struc­tur­ing and join­ing in the Belt and Road Ini­tia­tive.

Be­sides, Yu said, the main­land is happy that so many young peo­ple from Tai­wan want to study, work and start busi­nesses or fam­i­lies on the main­land, and looks for­ward to bet­ter co­op­er­a­tion in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy, as well as more aca­demic ex­changes.

Changes may take place in Tai­wan’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape, but as the bonds of busi­ness, amity and fam­ily be­tween com­pa­tri­ots grow stronger, the mo­men­tum will be­come ir­re­sistible. The door will not close, but open wider.

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