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Fujian governor begins six-day Taiwan visit

TAIPEI, May 5 (Xinhua) -- Governor of east China's Fujian Province Huang Xiaojing started a six-day visit to Taiwan Wednesday, aiming to deepen cooperation between the two regions which lie either side of the Taiwan Strait.

More pilot projects should be set up between Fujian and Taiwan, and then expanded to cover the mainland as well, Huang told a forum discussing Fujian-Taiwan cooperation at Taipei's Grand Hotel.

Huang said the outcome of cooperation between the two regions had always been very positive.

He said the first Taiwanese-invested enterprise in the mainland was set up in Fujian in 1981, and the first shipping routes opened across the Strait were those of Jinmen-Xiamen, Matsu-Mawei and Jinmen-Quanzhou, all between Fujian and Taiwan.

Fujian was also the first mainland province to expand the Taiwan agricultural product import list, the first to conduct labor service cooperation with Taiwan regarding the fishing industry, and the first to allow Taiwan people to set up privately-owned businesses, he said.

Deepening Fujian-Taiwan cooperation is "in line with the will of the people on both sides of the Strait," he said.

A contract-signing ceremony for Fujian enterprises investing in the island was held after the forum.

On Wednesday morning after Huang's arrival in Taipei, he visited Cecilia Y. Koo, the wife of the late chairman of the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), Koo Chen-fu. A native of the Cangshan District in Fuzhou, Fujian's capital, she was presented with Fujian delicacies by Huang.

Huang is heading an economic, trade and cultural exchange delegation to the island.

His visit came at the invitation of the Taiwan-based Kuomintang (KMT)'s National Policy Foundation.

The theme of Huang's visit is: "Visiting Friends and Doing Business."

Fujian Vice-Governor Su Zengtian is also scheduled to visit SEF Vice Chairman Kao Koong Liann, whose ancestral home is also in Fuzhou.

The delegation will meet with an association of townsmen of Fujian origin and attend the opening ceremony of an exhibition on cross-Strait clan relatives exchange and family name books.

On Wednesday at noon, SEF Chairman Chiang Pin-kung met with Huang's delegation.

Chiang said Taiwan and Fujian were close in terms of geography, culture and the ancestry of the people as "Fujian is where many Taiwan people come from."

He said Fujian had become a good investment destination for Taiwan business people with the improvement of cross-Strait relations, realization of direct flight and the mainland's enhanced efforts in developing an economic zone on the west side of the Taiwan Strait.

Last year, Taiwan received nearly one million mainland visitors and the figure was expected to hit 1.5 million this year, Chiang said.

Huang told Chiang that Wednesday marked the "Beginning of Summer," the seventh solar term on Chinese lunar calendar, which ushers in "a season of hard work and prosperous agricultural growth."

"Cross-Strait relations also need hard work on both sides," he said, adding both sides of the Strait had the custom of exchanging cooked wheaten food on the day of the "Beginning of Summer," which reflected the closeness between the regions.

In the following days, KMT Honorary Chairmen Lien Chan and Wu Poh-hsiung will also meet with Huang.

The six-day trip will cover all parts of Taiwan, from Keelung in the north to Kaohsiung in the south. The delegation will meet with locals from all walks of life.

Other activities of exchange during the tour include: exchanges involving over 100 villages and towns from each side; 10,000 of Fujian tourists visiting Taiwan; and the signing of a cooperation agreement between two ports -- Taiwan's Kaohsiung and Fujian's Xiamen.

Huang is one of several provincial government or Party committee heads who recently visited the island. The Chinese mainland and Taiwan have been intensifying their exchanges, especially with high-level visits to the island by mainland delegations, seen as a sign of increasingly solid relations.

Late last month, Luo Qingquan, Communist Party of China (CPC) chief of central Hubei Province, made a seven-day visit to the island with a one-thousand-strong delegation and attended the eight-day Hubei-Taiwan festival.

During the cultural festival, Hubei companies reached procurement agreements worth 590 million U.S. dollars with Taiwan counterparts.

Earlier in April, a municipal government delegation of about 260 people, led by Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng, visited the island, promoting the Shanghai World Expo.

During the trip, several Shanghai companies and Taiwanese counterparts signed 28 agreements on long-term exchanges and short-term purchases, along with agreements on investments in finance, chemical materials, steel, tourism, intellectual property rights and farm products, among others.


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