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Taiwan compatriots remain highly enthusiastic about seeking opportunities on the Chinese mainland, showing the cross-Straits economic exchange and integration are unstoppable, said top political adviser Wang Yang.
"No forces can suppress the great trend of cross-Straits economic communication and integration or sever the cultural tie of the same origin between compatriots on both sides of the Straits," Wang, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People"s Political Consultative Conference, said at the opening ceremony of the 11th Straits Forum in Xiamen, Fujian, on Sunday.
The forum follows President Xi Jinping delivering a speech in January marking the 40th anniversary of the National People"s Congress Standing Committee issuing the Message to Compatriots in Taiwan. Xi said "China must be and will be reunified."
The Chinese mainland is marching toward high-quality development with rapid upgrading of consumption and industrial structure, Wang said. The transformation is driving increasing demand for products and services of good quality.
"Economic integration is beneficial to both sides, and I see no reason why we wouldn"t step closer and better integrate," he said.
"We are willing to facilitate more extensive dialogues with various political parties and people in Taiwan and to build consensus. We are willing to expand room for peaceful reunification, but will never tolerate any separatist activities or "Taiwan independence" attempt in any form," he said.
The forum is an annual gathering initiated in 2009 to enhance people-to-people interaction across the Straits. This year, more than 10,000 people from a wide range of sectors in Taiwan signed up for the event, the largest number the forum has ever seen.
Of those attending, 40 percent were Taiwan residents at the forum for the first time and 50 percent were young Taiwan adults, whose exchanges with mainland young adults are one of the focuses of the gathering.
Despite some turbulent moments, the relationship between the Chinese mainland and Taiwan can always "see the silver lining behind the clouds," said Tseng Yung-chuan, the Kuomintang"s vice-chairman.
Tseng called the commitment to the 1992 Consensus and opposition to "Taiwan independence" the cornerstones of the relationship. The 1992 Consensus refers to an agreement the two sides reached in 1992 embodying the one-China principle.
"Compatriots on both sides of the Straits must face challenges and together contribute to the stability of the Straits and promoting integrated development," he said.
Wang visited companies and bases that serve entrepreneurship, research and development for Taiwan youth and he encouraged the youth from Taiwan to tell more Taiwan compatriots about their personal experiences of studying and starting a business on the mainland to build more connections.