Taipei, June 16 (CNA) China announced a total of 31 measures aimed at promoting further exchanges with Taiwan Sunday, with emphasis on facilitating travel and assistance to Taiwanese job seekers and businesses in mainland China.
The new measures also allow civil settlements mediated at local levels in Taiwan to be legally recognized in China and expand the number of Chinese institutions designated for official exchanges with their Taiwanese counterparts.
The measures, announced at a cross-Taiwan Strait forum held in the Chinese city of Xiamen, were seen to represent China's latest effort to woo Taiwanese hearts and minds after Chinese President Xi Jinping took over the rein of power in March.
In response, Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council said that it would study the measures before making an official comment.
The Tourism Bureau, however, welcomed a measure that will make it easier for Chinese nationals to apply for travel documents to come to Taiwan and another one that will allow residents of Xiamen to double the amount of time they are allowed to spend on Taiwan's outlying island of Kinmen to two days at a time.
According to Chinese media reports, the new measures include:
-- Facilitating travel and increasing convenience, for instance by increasing from nine to 20 the number of provinces and cities where Taiwanese nationals can apply for new travel documents allowing them to enter and exit China;
Allowing qualified Chinese citizens in 31 provinces and cities to apply for travel documents to visit Taiwan, regardless of the location of their official residence;
Extending the maximum length of visits to Kinmen by residents of Xiamen from one day to two;
-- Promoting cruise line traffic and the development of passenger/cargo shipping across the Taiwan Strait;
-- Expanding job opportunities for Taiwanese in China, including opening the certification examinations of 10 professions to Taiwanese residents and providing support to Taiwanese who want to start a business in China after earning a degree there.
The 10 professions include communication, publishing, management consultancy, prosthetics manufacturing, quake-resistance evaluation for buildings, equipment supervisors, certified metrology engineers, etc.
--Residents of another 13 cities including Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan will be permitted to travel to Taiwan as independent tourists and the number of travel agencies allowed to organize group tours to Taiwan will also increase;
-- The Supreme People's Court of China will issue an explanation allowing the recognition and enforcement of civil settlements reached by the mediation committees of Taiwanese local townships, in order to better protect people's rights;
-- Increasing the number of designated bases for official cross-strait exchanges from 17 to 28, with the new ones including the Confucius Temple in Shandong Province and the Mausoleum of the 72 Revolutionary Martyrs in Guangzhou;
-- The establishment of the first 10 designated bases for official cross-strait cultural exchanges, including the National Art Museum of China and the cultural friendship association in Henan Province; and
-- The establishment of a national cross-strait copyright trading center and a base for the digital publishing industry in Fujian Province.
In addition, the government of Fujian Province announced seven measures of its own aimed at strengthening ties with Taiwan, which faces Fujian directly across the 180-kilometer-wide Taiwan Strait.
Those measures include giving Taiwan three red pandas and providing assistance to Taiwanese small- and medium-sized enterprises operating in the province.
Meanwhile, a senior Chinese official said Beijing will "deepen" trade and economic exchanges and cooperation with Taiwan as part of China's effort to continue its policy of "peaceful development of cross-Taiwan Strait relationship."
Yu Zhengsheng, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, promised to find "effective ways" of strengthening cross-strait trade and economic cooperation.
Beijing plans to improve its investment environment and to help Taiwanese investors upgrade their businesses, especially in their efforts to innovate products and services, Yu said.
Pingtan Experimental Zone in Fujian province will serve as a model for cross-strait economic exchanges, Yu said, vowing to build it into a science-based industrial park that will attract Taiwanese investments.
(By Huang Chi-kuan, Jay Chen, and S.C. Chang) ENDITEM/J/sc