A Taiwanese delegation of eight local government leaders or their deputies yesterday arrived in Beijing to discuss tourism with China, China’s Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) spokesperson Ma Xiaoguang (馬曉光) confirmed yesterday.
They are to meet TAO Minister Zhang Zhijun (張志軍) this morning and attend a dinner hosted by Yu Zhengsheng (俞正聲), chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, in the evening.
Members of the delegation represent New Taipei City and Hsinchu, Miaoli, Hualien, Taitung, Lienchiang, Kinmen and Nantou counties, Ma said.
The delegation, which was invited by the Taiwan Affairs Office of Beijing Municipality, is to explore opportunities for exchanges and cooperation in the areas of economy, culture and tourism, Ma said, adding that some members would also visit other provinces in China.
The delegation is comprised of local leaders from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and nonpartisan parties who said their cities and counties recognize the so-called “1992 consensus,” the Chinese-language United Evening News reported.
The “1992 consensus” — a term former Mainland Affairs Council chairman Su Chi (蘇起) in 2000 admitted to making up — refers to a supposed understanding reached during cross-strait talks in 1992 that both Taiwan and China acknowledge that there is “one China,” with each side having its own interpretation of what that means.
Beijing has insisted on the “1992 consensus” as the political foundation for exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. However, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) and the Democratic Progressive Party have never recognized the existence of such an agreement.
The local government heads are trying to find a way out of a tourism slump caused by a sharp decrease in the number of Chinese tour groups in recent months, reportedly caused by Chinese authorities’ decision to turn a cold shoulder to Taiwan for Tsai’s failure to recognize the “1992 consensus.”
New Taipei City Deputy Mayor Yeh Hui-ching (葉惠青) said before his departure that “[we will] not abandon any market, but will actively solicit.”
Yeh expressed his hope of continued cooperation to tap more business opportunities.
Lienchiang County Commissioner Liu Tseng-ying (劉增應) said that cross-strait exchanges have many benefits and he hopes for more opportunities in bilateral cooperation, adding that Matsu’s geographical location between the two sides plays a crucial role in bilateral exchanges.
Hsinchu County Commissioner Chiu Ching-chun (邱鏡淳), who heads the World Hakka Federation, said he hopes to promote Hakka arts and cultural exchanges between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.
Miaoli County Commissioner Hsu Yao-chang (徐耀昌) hopes to attract Chinese tourists for an in-depth tour of his county and promote its agricultural products during the visit, while Taitung County Deputy Commissioner Chen Chin-hu (陳金虎) said the purpose of his visit is mainly to request that China open up more direct flights to Taitung, so that Chinese tourists can buy more of the county’s agricultural products.
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