KAOHSIUNG, Taiwan, June 27 -- Mainland's Taiwan affairs chief Zhang Zhijun on Friday expressed his hopes for more communication with local people and to hear their advice on cross-Strait cooperation.
Zhang, chief of the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, made the remarks while meeting with Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chu. They exchanged views on deepening cooperation between Kaohsiung and mainland cities.
Zhang said that with the development of cross-Strait relations in recent years, many cities on the island, including Kaohsiung, have carried out active communication with mainland cities. Last year, around 8 million people from both sides traveled across the Strait.
"The mainland welcomes all regions, parties and religions from Taiwan, to take part in the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, and create more benefit for both sides, as more cross-Strait communications will help to close mentality gap," Zhang told journalists after meeting with Chen.
He said the mainland and Taiwan share some common historical memories, while different memories lead to diverse social systems, values and life styles.
"As the mainland knows that Taiwanese people cherish the social system and life style chosen by their own, it respects the way that Taiwanese people chose," Zhang said.
Although some challenges and difficulties still remain, in the 65 years of cross-Strait development, all people with an objective view have noticed that cross-Strait relations are heading in the right direction and the mainstream public opinion supports the development.
Zhang said that more efforts are needed to hear the Taiwanese people's advice including ordinary people living in the south of the island.
During the meeting, Chen briefed Zhang on Kaohsiung's construction and administration.
They exchanged views on cross-Strait relations and city cooperation of the two sides, including convenient and economical direct flights, benefits that can be achieved from cross-Strait communication by farmers and fishermen, and healthy and sustainable development of tourism.
Zhang arrived at Kaohsiung's high-speed train station in the early morning, welcomed by local people and organizations, holding scrolls and chanting slogans "mutual visit creates harmony", and "both sides are of one family, welcome".
Taiwan-based Chinese Culture Communication Association chairwoman Shen Chih-hui also appeared at the station with nearly 100 association members to support Zhang's visit.
Nearly 80-year-old Hsing I-yi led a team composed of more than 60 people from Tainan City to greet Zhang. "Ancestors of Taiwanese people come from the mainland, which we will never forget," said Hsing, adding that more visits will bring cross-Strait ties closer.
Zhang started his four-day visit on Wednesday, and held a formal meeting with Wang Yu-chi, Taiwan's mainland affairs chief, in Taoyuan. He visited New Taipei City on Thursday and met with its Mayor Eric Chu.