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Explainer: Understand the value of Straits Forum in promoting exchanges

Updated:2024-06-16 17:01:53

Guests attending the main meeting of the 16th Straits Forum pose for photos outside the venue in Xiamen, southeast China's Fujian Province, June 15, 2024. The main meeting of the 16th Straits Forum was held here on Saturday. (Xinhua/Lin Shanchuan)

XIAMEN, June 15 (Xinhua) -- As the situation in the Taiwan Strait becomes increasingly complex and severe, more people-to-people exchanges through such platforms as the Straits Forum are definitely a boon to cross-Strait relations.

The 16th edition of the forum held on Saturday in Xiamen, Fujian Province, is an occasion to convey such a message: no matter how the cross-Strait situation may change, the mainland always promotes cross-strait exchanges and integration.

Since its inauguration in 2009, the Straits Forum has always adhered to its grassroots nature and become the largest and most comprehensive mechanism for people-to-people exchanges between the two sides of the Strait.

The 2024 forum, with the theme of expanding people-to-people exchanges and deepening integration and development, has attracted approximately 7,000 participants from the island, including representatives from political parties, industries, and social organizations.

The vibrant scenes of dialogues, exchanges, and interactions during the forum fully reflect the mainstream public opinion across the Strait, which advocates for peace, development, communication, and cooperation.

Fujian, the host province of the Straits Forum, is the ancestral home of many people in Taiwan and is at the forefront of cross-Strait exchanges and integration.

In September 2023, China released a policy document to support Fujian in piloting cross-Strait integrated development to a higher level. Over the past year, relevant departments have issued a series of supporting measures, and Fujian Province has also formulated implementation guidelines to promote exchanges between people from Fujian and Taiwan, facilitate the work and life of Taiwan compatriots in Fujian, and support Taiwan-funded enterprises.

These targeted practical measures have produced tangible results and also given people more confidence and certainty. At this year's forum, the organizers are expected to announce a new set of measures to provide more convenience to Taiwan compatriots.

In sharp contrast to the mainland's continuous provision of certainty is the escalating "decoupling" plot of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) authorities in Taiwan.

Since coming to power in May 2016, the DPP authorities have done everything possible to obstruct and limit cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation. After the announcement of hosting the 2024 Straits Forum, the DPP authorities tried to block Taiwan compatriots from participating in the forum activities on the mainland.

No matter how hard the DPP authorities try to set up obstacles and make threats, they cannot sever the deep-rooted kinship between the two sides of the Strait or sabotage the growing trend of cross-Strait exchanges and integration.

It should be understood that compatriots on both sides of the Strait are always one family, and it is natural for them to meet in family gatherings such as the Straits Forum.  ■