Taiwan would eventually return to the mainland's fold since the island's economy could not survive without its support, scholars said. Debating cross-strait exchanges in Hainan province, scholars from universities and institutes in China, Taiwan, Japan and the US said economic dependence would pave the way for national unification. They predicted Taiwan's economy would become more tied to the mainland's once Beijing opened more ports such as Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou and Dalian to conduct direct shipping with the island. At present, only Fuzhou and Xiamen in Fujian have established direct shipping links with Taiwan. Media reports suggest China is considering extending the experiment to other cities although some Taiwan shippers have complained of inadequate business to support additional routes. Xin Qi, a top mainland expert on Taiwan's affairs, called on Taipei to 'face reality' and open political negotiations with the mainland. 'Creating division and inciting conflicts across the Taiwan Strait would cause severe damage to people on both sides,' Mr Xin was quoted as saying by the China News Service. Although political animosity would continue to influence cross-strait relations, Mr Xin said that the impasse would eventually come to an end. He said the mainland's market and its abundant resources and skills would integrate with Taiwan's capital and technology to form an economic synergy that could become the basis of national unification.