The creation of a simplified-traditional Chinese character dictionary is a good idea that would make it easier for people on the two sides of the Taiwan Straits to communicate, the spokeswoman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council said yesterday.
"We think it would be good for scholars from both sides of the Taiwan Straits to work together in a non-official way on the compilation of such a dictionary that lists all the words that are different," Fan Liqing said at a press conference in Beijing.
On the mainland, simplified characters are used for reading and writing, while in Taiwan Province, traditional characters are used.
Besides the differences in the characters, people on the two sides sometimes use completely different words to describe the same things. For instance, on the Chinese mainland, the word for "laser" is jiguang, while in Taiwan it is leishe.
Ma Ying-jeou, leader of Taiwan, proposed the idea Saturday of organizing scholars from across the Straits to compile such a dictionary.
His suggestion is likely to be discussed at the Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Cultural Forum, the Taipei-based United Daily reported.
The main topic of the forum, which is scheduled to run from July 10 to 12 in Changsha, capital of Hunan Province, will be cooperation in culture and education across the Taiwan Straits, Fan said.
Taiwan's ruling party, the Kuomintang, will send a delegation headed by its Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung, and members of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party have also been invited to attend in a bid to improve mutual understanding, she said.
The forum, initiated by the Communist Party of China and the Kuomintang, was first held in 2006.
Fan also said at yesterday's press conference that the number of mainland tourists traveling to Taiwan had fallen recently, mainly due to the fact that June and July are typically low season, but also because of the outbreak of the A (H1N1) flu virus.