Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou said Tuesday that he hoped the annual forum between the Kuomintang (KMT) and the Communist Party of China (CPC) could serve as an important foundation for solving problems and planning the future.
Ma, who is also KMT chairman, made the remarks when he met with KMT honorary chairman Wu Poh-hsiung and others who will form the KMT delegation, which Wu will lead, to this year's forum on economy, trade and culture to be held on May 6 to May 8 in Chengdu, capital city of southwest China's Sichuan Province.
"Although there are different views on many issues between the two sides, improved cross-Straits ties in the past three years have made people in Taiwan more willingly and confident to deepen cooperation across the Taiwan Straits," he said.
Taiwan exported more than 30 billion U.S. dollars worth of products to the mainland in the first quarter, up 14 percent year on year, and the island's first-quarter agricultural-product exports shot up in terms of value to 33 million U.S. dollars from about 2 million during the same period last year, he said.
Ma attributed the increase to the initial results of the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) signed between the two sides last year.
At this year's cross-Straits forum on economy, trade and culture, the seventh of such kind between the mainland and Taiwan, participants will discuss the implementation of the ECFA, cross-Straits educational and cultural cooperation as well as youth exchanges, according to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
Topics including the mainland's development blueprint for the 12th Five-Year period (2011-2015) and Taiwan's plan to embrace a "Golden Decade" of development will be discussed at the forum, according to the office.
A total of around 450 representatives and experts from both sides in the industrial and commercial circles, as well as in the culture and education sectors will be present at the forum.