The Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Chinese Kuomintang (KMT), also known as the Nationalist Party, will hold a forum on economic and trade affairs between the mainland and Taiwan on April 14 and 15 in Beijing.
The forum is the product of the implementation of the five common aspiration and prospects reached by Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, and former KMT Chairman Lien Chan in April last year, according to Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee, here on Wednesday.
The forum was originally scheduled for last December in Taipei.
The forum, at the joint sponsorship of a research center of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee and a research fund of the KMT, will focus on cross-Straits economic and trade exchanges and opening direct transport links.
About 500 people, including KMT honorary chairman Lien, four vice-chairmen of the KMT, officials of the New Party and the People First Party (PFP), as well as business people, officials and scholars from both sides of the Taiwan Straits, will attend the forum.
Hu will meet with Lien during the forum. Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) and Lien will deliver keynote speeches at the opening ceremony.
"The forum is essential because cross-Straits economic cooperation and exchanges have been under development for more than 20 years," Chen said.
An estimated 68,000 projects on the mainland are funded by over 50,000 Taiwanese companies with a contractual investment of more than US$90 billion.
Direct and indirect cross-Straits trade is worth approximately US$500 billion annually and the mainland is Taiwan's biggest export market and largest trade surplus source.
Further, booming economic and trade cooperation has created new issues that need to be solved through talks, Chen said.
With economic globalization and regional integration, the cross-Straits economy is faced with both opportunities and challenges, and authorities should remove any obstructions to development and grab at opportunities, Chen said.
Since the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) raised the "three direct links" -- direct mail, transport and trade links -- in 1979, direct mail and trade links have developed well. But little or no progress has been made in transport links, Chen said.
"Realizing direct transport is in common interest of the people on both sides of the Straits. Direct transport is necessary for up to four million Taiwan compatriots to travel, do business and visit relatives on the mainland, and is necessary for mainlanders to travel to Taiwan. It will also help reduce the cost of transporting Taiwan produce to the mainland," Chen said.
The use of commercial airlines could resolve direct transport link issues, and this only needs the approval of the Taiwan authorities, Chen said, adding: "Direct cross-Straits transport is one of the major issues to be discussed during the forum."
(Xinhua News Agency April 13, 2006)