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Tainan mayor says visit to Shanghai a 'success'

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said yesterday that the most important thing when it comes to cross-strait relations is to look forward and seek common ground while reserving differences, adding that there will be development as long as there is interaction.

Lai recently returned from a trip to Shanghai.

Cross-strait exchanges have in appearance become more frequent in recent years, but the public's doubts over the development of cross-strait ties have deepened, Lai said.

The Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has a responsibility to launch cross-strait exchanges in order to allow the diverse social opinions of Taiwan to be heard, the mayor said, explaining that this will help lessen public anxieties.

There are differences and similarities between the two sides of the strait, and in the past, people have tried to tackle the differences and failed, Lai said.

The mayor said that the remarks he made in Shanghai were remarks that he had already made in Taiwan.

“They clearly understand that my intentions are to seek common ground while reserving differences, to not repeat past mistakes in trying to solve differences,” the mayor said, adding that his conversations with the mainland Chinese were pleasant.

Lai described his visit as a “success” in terms of cultural exchange and city diplomacy, adding that he had learnt a lot.

Lai said that he had successfully conveyed the friendliness of Tainan residents, thanking Shanghai Mayor Yang Xiong (楊雄), Fudan University President Yang Yuliang (楊玉良) and others for their hospitality.

Shanghai is a highly developed city with a booming economy and advanced industries, Lai said, adding that the city's streets are clean and feature a lot of greenery.

Shanghai is a beautiful city, and although it has a population of 2.4 million, its capacity for development is inexhaustible, Lai said.

'Taiwan independence'

During his visit to Fudan University, Lai said, “The DPP advocates Taiwan independence; procedurally speaking, (it) fully respects the people of Taiwan's (right to) self-determination. But this proposal was conceived through an absolute majority consensus ... Chen Shui-bian used this to run for president, and he got elected. Did the Taiwan independence movement come to exist in society because of the DDP's preceding existence, or did the DPP come into existence after society had begun proposing Taiwan independence? (Once can) solve the DPP's Taiwan independence clause, but (one) cannot solve Taiwan's call for independence.”

When asked, the Beijing-based Taiwan Affairs Office, which is the mainland Chinese authority that manages cross-strait relations, said that Beijing stands firmly against Taiwan independence.

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Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) speaks at a press event, yesterday. The mayor recently concluded his trip to Shanghai. Lai said yesterday that if he is re-elected as mayor, he will serve the full term, meaning that he won't run in the 2016 presidential election. (CNA)

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