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Shanghai, Taipei sign MoUs with eyes on 'win-win result'
Published on: 2010-04-07
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SHANGHAI - Four memoranda of understanding for cooperation between Shanghai and Taipei were signed on Tuesday during Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng's maiden visit to Taiwan, a move that marked increasingly active relations between cities across the Straits.

The memoranda, the first on a city-to-city level signed across the Straits, cover cooperation in the areas of culture, tourism, high-tech industrial parks and environmental protection.

"The signing of the memoranda marked a new mode of exchange and cooperation between cities across the Straits," Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin was quoted by Central News Agency as saying.

"We can expect regular and closer exchanges between Shanghai and Taipei in the future by sharing our experiences and striving for a win-win result," he said.

Han Zheng, who is leading a 200-member delegation, arrived in Taipei on Sunday morning, where he received a warm welcome from Taipei's leaders amidst protests from pro-independence supporters. It was the first visit by a municipality mayor on the Chinese mainland to Taiwan since 1949.

Han and his group were invited by the Taipei mayor, who led a delegation to Shanghai in June 2008. They will stay in Taipei for four days, during which time Han is scheduled to attend a twin-city forum and to promote the upcoming Shanghai Expo.

Before his departure, Han said the Taiwan pavilion will participate in the trial run of the 2010 Shanghai Expo, due to start on April 20. He also expressed the hope that more Taiwan people will join the event, which is estimated to attract 70 million visitors from home and abroad.

In addition to the 1,400-square-meter Taiwan pavilion, Taipei will also showcase two projects, Wireless Taipei and Taipei Infinity, at the Urban Best Practices Area of the Expo site, which seek to demonstrate how to build up a wireless network and how to achieve the complete recycling of resources without burying garbage.

In a gesture intended to encourage more Taiwan visitors to the Expo, Han said the free exchange between the yuan and the New Taiwan dollar will be launched during the Expo to facilitate visitors' stay in Shanghai.

Previously, Fujian province, which is adjacent to Taiwan, was the only place open to exchange between renminbi and the new Taiwan dollar freely via the Bank of China.

During his visit, Han will also visit Eslite Bookstore, a cultural landmark in Taipei, take a train trip on the Taipei Rapid Transit System and pay a visit to the city's night market.

"We'd like to work more closely with Taipei in terms of science and technology, education and culture, aside from economic and trade cooperation," Han said.

There are currently about 200,000 Taiwan people working and living in Shanghai, making the city one of the largest mainland destinations for Taiwan businessmen.

According to the Central News Agency, local officials also confirmed on Tuesday that direct flights between Taipei Sonshan Airport and Shanghai Hongqiao Airport will begin in October this year.

Direct flights between Taipei and Shanghai currently operate out of Shanghai International Pudong Airport, which is further from downtown Shanghai than Hongqiao Airport.

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