Summit to boost cross-strait ties

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 15 September, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 15 September, 2005, 12:00am

Taiwanese opposition politician James Soong Chu-yu travelled to the mainland via Macau yesterday to attend a conference in Shanghai, which the two sides have billed as a forum for boosting economic ties.

The forum was the result of a meeting in May between Mr Soong, head of the People First Party, and President Hu Jintao .

The continued exchanges with Taiwan's opposition camp are being seen as part of Beijing's strategy to isolate the pro-independence ruling party led by Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian, who Beijing says has been obstructing cross-strait relations.

Officials said the conference would focus on issues such as charter flights between the mainland and the island, and agricultural exports from Taiwan. Mr Soong will deliver a speech, as will Jia Qinglin , a Politburo Standing Committee member and deputy head of the Central Leading Group for Taiwan Affairs.

'It will help cross-strait relations improve in a peaceful and stable way, and Shanghai is well-prepared to welcome guests from Taiwan,' Shanghai government spokeswoman Jiao Yang said.

Another issue that may be addressed is a dispute between Shanghai and the Taiwanese government over the name of a new school for the children of Taiwanese residents living in the city. Taiwan hopes the word 'compatriots' may be dropped from the school's name.