Top Chinese political advisor Yu Zhengsheng wrapped up his three-day visit to Fujian province on Sunday and urged it to boost communication with Taiwan.
Yu, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), and Li Wenyi, vice-chairman of the CPPCC, inspected a number of factories, enterprises, construction sites, ports and wharfs across the province to support cross-Straits cooperation.
In his stop to the province's Pingtan Comprehensive Pilot Zone, the first Chinese mainland economic zone opening up to Taiwan, Yu boarded the Haixia, a high-speed passenger ferry sailing between Pingtan and Taichung in Taiwan all year round. He also visited a petty trade market to Taiwan and the Pingtan branch of TPK Holding, the world's largest touch panel maker, to get more detailed information on Pingtan's development.
Statistics show that since its launch in November 2011, the Haixia has transferred more than 150,000 passengers across the Taiwan Straits, contributing a great deal to Pingtan's tourism.
Pingtan plays a crucial role in cross-Straits communication and should strive to build itself into a scientifically planned pilot zone that better promotes cross-Straits collaborations, said Yu.
Yu also visited Taiwan-backed enterprises in Fuzhou and investigated the operation of the Xiamen-Jinmen passenger terminal in Xiamen.
Fujian has such close historical relations with Taiwan that it has unique advantages in cross-Straits cooperation, said Yu at a seminar. He urged Fujian to continue to explore various ways of economic and trade contact with Taiwan, break new grounds for cooperation, and come out with more preferential policies to attract more investment from Taiwan.
At the same time, the local governments should offer help to Taiwan-backed enterprises in need of upgrade and innovation, and address all the problems in their operations, added Yu.
The central government will lead through example by continuing "correct policies" to consolidate peaceful cross-Straits ties, Yu remarked at the fifth Straits Forum in Xiamen on Sunday.
"The new leadership will continue to follow the correct policies and dedicate itself to reinforcing the political, economic, cultural and social foundation for the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations," Yu said.
Taiwan to open tourism to more mainland cities
Residents in 13 mainland cities will be eligible to visit Taiwan as individual tourists under a new cross-Straits agreement, the National Tourism Administration announced on Sunday.
The 13 cities include Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Suzhou, Ningbo, Qingdao, Shijiazhuang, Changchun, Hefei, Changsha, Nanning, Kunming and Quanzhou, said Shao Qiwei, head of the administration.
Taiwan has previously opened individual tourism to 13 mainland cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Xiamen, Tianjin, Nanjing, Chongqing, Hangzhou, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Jinan, Shenzhen, Fuzhou and Xi'an.
Before that, mainland residents could visit Taiwan only by joining tour groups.
A total of 1.97 million mainland tourists visited Taiwan in 2012, up from 55,000 in 2008, when Taiwan opened up its tourism market to mainland travelers.
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