University student leaders from both sides of the Taiwan Straits pledged to improve cross-Straits relations at a forum in Beijing yesterday.
Seventy-one students from Taiwan's 32 universities and 93 from 40 mainland universities attended the First Cross-Straits University Student Leaders Forum that opened in the Great Hall of the People yesterday.
They're discussing how to develop long-term relationships between young people on both sides of the water as well as issues such as inheriting and developing Chinese culture and economic ties. Cross-Straits relations are also on the agenda of the students.
Lin Kuo-cheng, deputy head of the Youth League of the Kuomintang (KMT), said it was the first time for Taiwan student leaders to have direct communication with their mainland counterparts. Mutual trust across the Straits had been weakened in past years and the forum is one of the KMT's many efforts to improve relations, Lin said.
"Cross-Straits relations are now at a turning point and this is a time for young people from Taiwan and the mainland to do something to contribute to peace and prosperity across the Straits," Lin added.
Ma Po-chiang, a student from Taiwan's Tamkang University, said it was his second visit to Beijing in two years. Ma's grandmother is a Beijinger who moved to Taiwan before 1949.
"It's only when you stand in the Forbidden City that you feel ... the national pride of being Chinese," Ma said. He said he often visited the mainland's mainstream websites, such as the Xinhua News Agency, to understand more about the mainland.
Ma said most of Taiwan's students have a good impression of the mainland and are willing to increase exchanges with the mainland students.
(China Daily August 18, 2006)