Taiwanese media have interpreted a visit by Hong Kong's secretary for home affairs and mainland delegates to a Buddhist forum as a 'soft push' for cross-strait unification. 'The World Buddhist Forum is full of pushes for unification,' a headline in the Chinese-language Liberty Times said yesterday. A cable news network said of the event: 'The moving of the forum venue to Taiwan inevitably is spiced with politics.' The Second World Buddhist Forum, which opened in Wuxi, Jiangsu province, and then moved to Taipei, was bound to be political when Tsang Tak-sing and mainland religious bigwigs boarded four charter flights from Nanjing on Monday, Taipei's TVBS said. Mr Tsang's visit was already a highly political one because he was the most senior Hong Kong official to visit the island since the city reverted to Chinese rule in 1997, political science professor George Tsai Wei of Chinese Cultural University said. His visit has been seen as a major breakthrough in Taiwan-Hong Kong relations, given that Beijing appointed him to monitor Hong Kong affairs. Remarks by Ye Xiaowen, of the mainland's State Administration for Religious Affairs, at a banquet on Monday that the 'two sides of the Taiwan Strait are inseparable' drew criticism from Taiwanese media. Comments by Buddhist master and the founder of the Fo Kuang Shan monastery, Hsing Yun, further politicised the event, the English-language Taipei Times said. During a press conference on Friday, he said: 'Both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one family. There are no Taiwanese in Taiwan and Taiwanese are all Chinese.' When asked if he felt the forum had become a 'soft push' for unification, as Taiwanese media reported, Mr Tsang declined comment.