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Cultural forum advocates kinship amid cross-strait tensions

03/31/2024 05:41 PM
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Students from Taiwan and China perform a ritual during the opening ceremony of the forum in Shanghai Sunday. CNA photo March 31, 2024
Students from Taiwan and China perform a ritual during the opening ceremony of the forum in Shanghai Sunday. CNA photo March 31, 2024

Shanghai, March 31 (CNA) A cultural forum between Taiwan and China held in Shanghai on Sunday underscored the importance of kinship and shared memories against the backdrop of heightened tensions across the Taiwan Strait.

Scholars and officials at the annual forum, held to coincide with the Tomb Sweeping Festival, which falls on April 4 this year, emphasized the importance of pursuing peace between the two sides due to close bloodline relationships.

"Without kinship, cross-strait relations would be reduced to a competition of strengths," said Li Mi (李秘), executive director of the Shanghai Public Relations Research Institute, one of the event's Chinese organizers.

Taiwanese Legislator Hsieh Lung-chieh (謝龍介) of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT) said the two sides share a common language, ethnicity, and bloodline, and he lamented how cruel it would be if they were to engage in warfare.

He called for the continuous expansion of seeds of peace in cross-strait exchanges.

Chang King-yuh (張京育), chairman of the Taiwan-based Chinese Education, Culture and Economy Promotion Association, contended that Taiwan and China should not only focus on facilitating trade, travel and financial interactions but also the sharing of information and culture.

Cross-strait tensions were triggered again recently when Beijing intensified patrols in waters around Taiwan-held Kinmen and the Chinese city of Xiamen after a deadly boat chase between Taiwan's Coast Guard and Chinese nationals last month.

At the one-day event, Zhong Xiaomin (鍾曉敏), director of the Shanghai Taiwan Affairs Office, said she hoped the forum could have a positive effect similar to the visit made by Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) to China in 2023 to pay respects to his ancestors.

Ma, a KMT member and Taiwan's president from 2008 to 2016, traveled to China from March 27 to April 7 in 2023, the first such visit by a former president from Taiwan.

This year, Ma will lead a delegation of Taiwanese students to the Chinese mainland from April 1 to April 11, visiting companies and sites of Chinese historical or cultural significance in Guangdong and Shaanxi provinces.

Because the upcoming trip will include a stop in Beijing, there has been media speculation about a potential reprise of Ma's 2015 meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平), but such a meeting has not been confirmed by either side.

(By Chang Shu-ling and Lee Hsin-Yin)

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