TAIPEI, Dec. 20 (Xinhua) -- An annual forum between Shanghai and Taipei kicked off Thursday, with a focus on the "circular economy."
At the opening ceremony in Taipei, the two cities signed memoranda strengthening exchange and cooperation on young athlete training and film associations.
A memorandum was inked to boost exchange and cooperation between Taipei's Datong District and Jiading District in Shanghai.
Stating that Shanghai has made "tremendous achievements" over the past four decades, Shanghai Executive Vice Mayor Zhou Bo spoke of the contributions made by Taiwanese compatriots and businesses.
There are 12,900 Taiwanese-invested enterprises in Shanghai, with the total contracted investment exceeding 40 billion U.S. dollars, Zhou said. "This is the result of cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation."
"There will be a huge market as we are committed to the integration of the Yangtze River Delta and high quality development, while cooperation within the forum could be wider," Zhou said.
"Let us jointly uphold the conviction that we are all part of the same family and safeguard the overall situation of peaceful development across the Strait."
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je said the forum had played an important role in boosting economic, cultural and city exchanges between the two cities, increased friendship between the two cities and cross-Strait peaceful development, and promoted mutual understanding.
"As long as we put the people's interests first, unnecessary disputes across the Strait will be reduced, and the two sides will move towards cooperation," Ko said.
Noting that people from across the Strait shared the same language, culture and history, he said that only when the two sides kept an open mind and strengthened exchanges could they reach win-win results.
Themed "sustainable city, sustainable development," this year's forum also focused on health care, culture, public housing and urban renovation, and environmental protection, to deepen exchange and cooperation between the cities.
The opening ceremony was attended by a 130-member Shanghai delegation and 250 officials, businessmen and experts from Taiwan.
At a welcoming banquet held Wednesday evening, Zhou said the two cities were expanding their exchange and cooperation, and would continue to improve their friendship.
"As long as we uphold mutual understanding, respect and cooperation, as well as the conviction that we are all of the same family, cross-Strait relations will be peaceful, stable, mutually-beneficial and show win-win results," Ko said.
The Shanghai-Taipei forum has been held by the two cities in rotation since 2010. Thirty agreements have been inked between the two cities so far.