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Introduction of the Fifth Cross-Strait Economic, Trade, and Cultural Forum

Source: The National Policy Foundation

July 13, 2009

The Fifth Cross-Strait Economic, Trade, and Cultural Forum ended on July 12, and a package of recommendations was announced during the closing ceremony.

The Cross-Strait Forum was originally initiated by then KMT Chairman (now KMT Honorary Chairman) Lien Chan, concurrently Chairman of the National Policy Foundation (NPF), and Hu Jintao, General Secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, in their historic “Five-Point Vision Statement” during Lien’s “Journey of Peace” to Mainland China in 2005. The four previous Forums focused mainly on economic and trade issues across the Taiwan Strait, and both parties reached consensus on a series of issues and jointly endorsed appropriate recommendations, a significant achievement.

The Fifth Cross-Strait Forum was jointly hosted by the NPF and the Mainland’s Research Center for Cross-Strait Relations under the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. The issues of cross-Strait cultural exchanges and education were the main topic in the Forum for the first time.

KMT Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung, who led the delegation, held a press conference following the closing ceremony. He said, “I have witnessed twists and turns in cross-Strait relations in recent years. I feel touched as well as thankful.”

Since a few DPP members attended the forum for the first time, Wang Yi, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council on Mainland China, opined, “The presence of these friends was not a simple matter because they have to bear great pressure and overcome certain challenges. However, history will prove that their decision to come was correct.”

In the Forum’s closing ceremony, the six-point joint recommendation with twenty-nine sub-topics was announced. The Six-Point Joint Recommendation is as follows:

1. Strengthen cross-Strait cultural exchanges and cooperation, and work together to further develop Chinese culture. Encourage the private sector to compile a Chinese dictionary.

2. Deepen cross-Strait cooperation in cultural industries and increase international competitiveness in cultural industries across the Taiwan Strait.

3. Promote cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation in education. Advance the quality of education across the Taiwan Strait. Both sides should recognize each other’s academic credentials, and encourage students to study on the other side of the Taiwan Strait.

4. Jointly explore the issue of negotiating and signing a cross-Strait agreement on cultural and educational exchanges, and establish cross-Strait mechanisms of culture and education.

5. Strengthen cross-Strait media exchanges. Speed up the setting up of permanent bureau of media establishments on each other’s side across the Strait, and encourage exchanges and cooperation of the press.

6. Support the development and growth of Taiwanese businesses on the Mainland, and push forward cross-Strait cooperation in energy conservation, environmental protection, and new energies industries. In addition, support Taiwanese businesses to further utilize the timing of the various regional development strategies for Central Mainland China and other regions, as well as the timing of expansion of the domestic market, so as to move forward the businesses’ own transformation and upgrading, and to accelerate the pace of relocation of their industries.