Photo taken on Aug. 22, 2016 shows the opening ceremony of Taipei-Shanghai students sports festival held at Yang Ming Senior High School in Taipei, southeast China's Taiwan. The students sports festival marked the opening of the 2016 Taipei-Shanghai City Forum. (Xinhua/Song Zhenping)
TAIPEI, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- A senior Shanghai official on behalf of Mayor Yang Xiong arrived in Taipei on Monday for an annual forum between the two cities, which is scheduled to open on Tuesday.
Sha Hailin, a member of the Standing Committee of the Communist Party of China Shanghai Municipal Committee, told reporters after an opening ceremony of a sports event joined by students and teachers from the two cities that the common political foundation for cross-Strait exchange and cooperation is identifying with the consensus that both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China.
"The political foundation can not be avoided if the cross-Strait is meant to keep developing in a peaceful way," he said. A total of 149 students and teachers are in town for the five-day sports event held in Yangming High School in Taipei.
Sha said Shanghai municipal government will do its best to support events that are conducive to the peaceful development of cross-Strait ties and can increase the benefits of people on both sides of the Strait.
Sha also visited a hospital in downtown Taipei on Monday so as to boost exchange on medical service and health care. He said one of the main assignments of the visit is to learn of the Taipei's experience in this regard.
According to Sha, strengthening exchange is important because there are more than 13,000 enterprises in Shanghai with investment from Taiwan's business people and more than 1,000 Taiwanese students are studying in the city.
At a dinner held to welcome Sha and the Shanghai delegation he led later on Monday, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said Taipei and Shanghai had many things to learn from each other.
The Shanghai-Taipei forum has been held by the two cities in rotation since 2010. The 2016 forum will focus on exchanges in fields such as health care, smart cities, culture and transportation in a bid to deepen exchanges and cooperation in various aspects between the two cities.
Sha told a press briefing after visiting the hospital that Shanghai is willing to conduct exchanges with other cities and counties in Taiwan, if a political consensus can be reached.
"We need to have a clear understanding of the nature of cross-Strait exchange and the exchange between two cities," Sha said.
Taiwan's current leader Tsai Ing-wen and her administration has not recognized the 1992 Consensus, which upholds both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to one China, shaking the political foundation for cross-Strait interaction.
The Chinese mainland and Taiwan have suspended the regular mechanism between cross-Strait affairs departments, as well as the consultation mechanism between the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and the Taiwan-based Straits Exchange Foundation.