Shanghai, July 1 (CNA) Visiting Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said Saturday that he is supportive of the Taipei-Shanghai city forum, and expressed hope that the two cities will become a major exchange conduit between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
The mayor, who left Taipei earlier that day to attend the twin-city forum Sunday, made the remarks at a banquet given in his honor by Shanghai Mayor Ying Yong (應勇) and Vice Mayor Weng Tiehui (翁鐵慧).
Ko was quoted as saying that this is his first meeting with Ying, but could already feel his kind hospitality. He also lauded the fast progress he has seen in Shanghai during his visits to the city.
He said cross-Taiwan Strait relations might seem stalled, but "my attitude is exchange. Exchange will breed goodwill, and goodwill will promote more exchanges."
He said he wants the two cities to become "a major exchange conduit" across the Taiwan Strait, and that even if there are difficulties, he will do all he can to overcome them.
Ying welcomed Ko's delegation, which includes 58 city officials and 10 Taipei City councilors.
He introduced the development of his city in finance, shipping, tourism, ecology and culture, saying that he looks forward to exchanges and cooperation between the two cities.
The Taipei mayor also said that China excels in e-commerce and logistics, and that he will organize another delegation to visit Shanghai to learn about this aspect.
For Taiwan's part, Ko said it excels in medical care and environmental protection, noting that it is now banning the use of disposable products and focusing on reducing the amount of garbage generated.
Whether this year's twin-city forum -- an annual event that takes place by turn in the two cities -- could take place was originally in doubt amid chilly cross-strait relations in the wake of China's detention of a Taiwanese human rights activist in March and Panama's switching of diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing last month.
(By Chang Shu-lin and Lilian Wu)ENDITEM/J