|Participants attend the closing ceremony of the 8th Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang province, July 29, 2012. (Xinhua/Wang Jianwei)|
HARBIN, July 29 (Xinhua) -- The 8th Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Culture Forum closed Sunday in Harbin, capital of northeast China's Heilongjiang province, with the adoption of 17 proposals for promoting cross-Strait ties.
"The most prominent feature of this forum is that the two sides, for the first time, held comprehensive and inclusive discussions on the development of cross-Strait relations," Wang Yi, the Chinese mainland's Taiwan affairs chief, said at the closing ceremony.
Previous forums, however, had generally focused on discussions of individual topics, said Wang, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.
Cross-Strait relations have realized a historic turn and saw breakthrough development in the past four years, he said.
Authorities from both sides should seize the opportunities to overcome the difficulties ahead of us, as cross-Strait ties are facing both "bright prospects and various challenges" in the future, he said.
The joint proposals acknowledged that "peaceful development" is the correct path for furthering cross-Strait relations, he said, adding that such development is also in line with the common interests of people on both sides of the Strait as well as the Chinese nation.
Participants from the mainland and Taiwan urged authorities from the two sides to enhance communication and dialogue and shelve differences on the basis of opposing "Taiwanese independence" and adhering to the 1992 Consensus.
Academic circles from both mainland and Taiwan are encouraged to probe and discuss issues regarding the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and mechanisms of cross-Strait mutual trust,according to the proposals.
Participants from the mainland and Taiwan called on authorities from the two sides to expand common ground and consolidate mutual trust, and create conditions to resolve "deap-seated" problems in cross-Strait relations.
They also propose the exchange of offices for non-governmental cultural organizations.
"The proposals adopted at the forum will play an important guiding role in pushing forward policies concerning relations between the mainland and Taiwan," Wang said.
In the proposals, participants urged the two sides to speed up follow-up discussions on the cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA), which took effect in 2010, and strive to conclude negotiations on the service trade agreement by the end of this year.
The participants also urged the two sides to ink the agreement on investment protection and promotion at an early date and set up a cross-Strait currency settlement mechanism as soon as possible so as to boost two-way balanced investment development across the Strait.
Participants also called on the two sides to further push forward cooperation in such sectors as tourism, culture, finance, agriculture, investment, education and youth exchanges, as well as publishing and film cooperation.
Jia Qinglin, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, spoke highly of the forum as he addressed the closing ceremony.
"The forum has grasped the development trend of cross-Strait relations, focused on discussing pressing problems that need to be solved and responded to the common concerns of people across the Strait," Jia said.
Most of the 100-plus joint proposals adopted at the forum have been turned into practical policies or measures for authorities in the mainland and Taiwan, said Jia, also chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.
The peaceful development of the cross-Strait relationship has entered a new stage of consolidation, and it has deepened from the initial start-up period, Jia said.
The two sides should stick to the appropriate track of peaceful development for the cross-Strait relationship and push forward cross-Strait ties to make new achievements to benefit people on both sides, he said.
Wu Poh-Hsiung, honorary chairman of the Kuomintang (KMT) Party, said at the closing ceremony that authorities should resolutely promote things which will benefit the people or cross-Strait relationship.
Wu said the two sides should join hands to tackle challenges posed by the hazardous global economic situation and actively promote the ECFA's negotiations.
The two-day forum, which was sponsored by the CPC and the KMT, attracted hundreds of senior officials from both parties, government officials and scholars as well as representatives from the trade, financial, tourism, education, publishing, film and television industries.