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Taipei mayor vows to do "whatever" benefits cross-Strait exchange

TAIPEI, Aug. 3 -- Taipei mayor Ko Wen-je has promised to do "whatever" benefits cross-Strait communication, expressing his hope that he would be in Shanghai for a forum between the two cities.

During an interview on Monday, Ko told Xinhua that he won't refuse anything that benefits the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and will actively pursue whatever benefits cross-Strait communication.

Ko noted that he understood and respected the 1992 consensus raised by the mainland as the foundation for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.

The "1992 consensus" is an agreement which acknowledges that the Chinese mainland and Taiwan belong to one and the same China.

Ko revealed that his talks with Weng Tiehui, deputy mayor of Shanghai, touched on many subjects including young people's business startups and community medical services during Weng's Taipei visit last week, expressing his hope that he could attend a Shanghai-Taipei forum in Shanghai.

According to Ko, he's been to Shanghai many times and has many friends there, but his previous connection with the city was mainly in the medical field when he was a doctor. Now as the mayor of Taipei, he hopes to expand communications to transportation, education, science and technology and other aspects that benefit both cities.

The Shanghai-Taipei City Forum is an annual event held by the two cities in rotation since 2010 to promote communication.

Responding to Ko's remarks, Fan Liqing, spokesperson with the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office, stressed on Monday that as long as the two sides uphold the existing political foundation, cross-Strait exchange and cooperation, including that between Shanghai and Taipei, will surely progress.

Fan noted that cross-Strait exchange is not international exchange, referring to Ko assigning the handling of Taipei's mainland-related affairs to a special mainland affairs group, rather than an international affairs office.

During Monday's interview, Ko said he defined the Taipei-Shanghai exchange as an exchange between cities across the Strait, while the international affairs group is responsible for handling foreign affairs.

"We know the difference," Ko said.