Taipei, July 2 (CNA) Culture Minister Lung Ying-tai said Monday that she hopes political tensions between Taiwan and China can ease to the point where the publishing sectors on the two sides are able to work more closely together.
"Although Taiwan is at a political and military disadvantage (compared with China), its culture enjoys an advantage, especially in the publishing sector," Lung said at an international book fair conference in Taipei.
The minister said she hoped Taiwan and China could "lower their political fences" and establish closer publishing ties so that Taiwan can sell more of its books there.
Eleven international book fair directors from countries including Germany, the United States, Italy, South Korea and Poland, attended the conference, held for the first time in Taiwan.
Peter Weidhaas, chairman of the Conference of International Book Fairs, of which Taiwan is a member, said Taiwan's publishing industry could be more competitive if more of its books could be sold to China.
Weidhaas said he has thought about transforming the Taipei International Book Exhibition into a book fair center in Southeast Asia, but the international scope of the fair depends on China's participation and whether it will liberate its book policy.
If China cooperates, "then we have a chance to really develop the fair here (in Taipei) internationally," Weidhaas said.
Taiwanese publishers have expressed the hope that the government will act to boost cross-Taiwan Strait exchanges in the publishing industry, such as by reducing taxes on Taiwanese books exported to China.
David Unger, the U.S. representative for the Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico, expressed regret that Beijing's representative could not come to the conference in Taipei.
He called politics an "impediment" to the relationship between people, writers and cultures.
Meanwhile, Unger said he would be happy to see Taiwanese writers and illustrators attend the Guadalajara book fair and to see more cooperation between Taiwanese and Mexican publishers, especially in the area of children's books, one of Taiwan's strengths.
The conference, held every two years since 1994, discusses issues regarding book fairs around the world, as well as global trends in publishing and cultural development.
(By Christie Chen)