Taipei Deputy Mayor Teng Chia-ji (???) said Tuesday at the opening of the annual Taipei-Shanghi forum that his city keeps pace with international standards of public order and has a vibrant democratic system.
He said that since 1994, Taipei has held five mayoral elections through a peaceful democratic process, which demonstrates that it is a civil society that allows people to voice their opinions.
"This is manifested by the protests outside," Teng said, referring to the demonstrations outside the Taipei venue by several pro-independence groups against the visit by the Shanghai representative Sha Hailin (???), director of the Chinese Communist Party's Shanghai Municipal Committee United Front Work Department.
Teng said the Taiwan capital also boasts a convenient, immaculately clean and regular metro system, public order and security, all of which puts it on par with international city standards.
Noting that Taiwan at different periods in history was colonized by the Spanish, the Dutch, and Ming Dynasty loyalist Koxinga and later the Japanese, the deputy mayor said Taiwan has developed into a culturally rich and diverse society that accommodates different voices.
Meanwhile, in Sha's address at the opening of the annual twin-city forum, he said China remains resolute about advancing the peaceful development of ties with Taiwan in the best interests of the people on both sides.
The peaceful development of cross-Taiwan Strait relations over the past eight years was based on the adherence of both sides to the 1992 consensus, he said. "However, as we all know, for some reason, the development of cross-strait relations has turned into the current situation, one that the mainland is unwilling to see," Sha said.
The "1992 consensus" refers to a tacit agreement between Taiwan and China that there is only "one China," with each side free to interpret what that means, but Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has never accepted the term.
President Tsai Ing-wen, who was sworn in on May 20, has only gone so far as to say that she respects "the historical fact" that Taiwan and China "arrived at various joint acknowledgements and understandings" in talks in 1992.
At a press conference after the opening of the forum, Sha said that the city-to-city exchanges across the strait are based on the understanding that "such exchanges are not between cities in two different countries."
China has noted that Taipei Mayor Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (???) recognizes that stance, said Sha, the first senior Chinese official to visit Taiwan since Tsai took office.
After the forum, the two cities signed memorandums on cooperation between the Taipei Film Festival and the Shanghai International Film Festival, between Taipei's Wenshan District and Shanghai's Songjiang District, and on city marathon events.
Source: Focus Taiwan