HONG KONG, Sept. 21 (Xinhua) -- The Overseas Chinese World Conference for Promoting Peaceful Reunification of China opened here Tuesday afternoon.
The meeting, held for the first time in Hong Kong, gathers over 1,500 delegates from 60 countries and regions, with about 600 of them coming from Taiwan.
China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin sent a congratulatory letter to the meeting, saying he is glad to know Hong Kong hosts the meeting.
Jia, who also serves as the chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification, said in his letter that for a long time, the compatriots in Hong Kong, Macao and overseas Chinese have been showing great concern for the cause of national reunification and have been an important force in anti-secession and reunification efforts.
Jia expressed the hope that the meeting could get more overseas Chinese involved for the reunification cause and help foster stronger ties with the Taiwan compatriots so as to promote the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and achieve national reunification.
The meeting, firstly held in Berlin, Germany in 2000, had been convened in many cities including Tokyo, Sydney, Moscow, Vienna, Bucharest, Macao and Los Angles before it came to Hong Kong.
At the opening ceremony, senior Chinese official Du Qinglin lauded overseas Chinese and compatriots in Hong Kong and Macao for the important role they have been playing in safeguarding China's national sovereignty and dignity as well as in promoting peaceful development of cross-Strait ties.
Du, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said the cross-Strait ties is now in a phase of peaceful development and there's bright prospect for the cause of the peaceful reunification.
He stressed that the peaceful development is the strategic choice with a view to the national interest. It is also what people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait want and is the route must be taken to achieve peaceful reunification.
He called on Chinese both at home and abroad to jointly shoulder the historical responsibility in pushing forward the cross-Strait ties.
Hong Kong chief executive Donald Tsang, Taiwan representative Xu Linong and several other officials and delegates also gave speeches at the opening ceremony.
Tsang said in the 13 years since Hong Kong returned to the motherland, the city has achieved robust growth thanks to the "one country, two systems" principle. He believed Hong Kong's experience could provide an example for the solution of the Taiwan issue.
Taiwan representative Xu Linong, who is already in his 90s, said the Chinese nation has always been an outstanding nation and he hopes both sides of the Taiwan Strait could use their political wisdom to achieve a peaceful reunification at an early date.
After the opening ceremony, delegates attended different seminars to discuss topics such as cross-Strait peaceful development, economic cooperation, cultural and educational exchanges as well as communication between the youths.
According to the organizer of the event, the Hong Kong branch of the China Council for the Promotion of Peaceful National Reunification, the meeting has received over 150 papers and 39 of them were chosen as spoken papers for the seminars. The speakers include scholars and experts, business leaders and overseas Chinese leaders.
Unlike previous such meetings, the Hong Kong meeting added a unit for exchanges between young people from Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Many of the Taiwan young delegates are from the 24 universities located in different parts of the island, said Lo Man Tuen, deputy executive chairman of the HK meeting.
The meeting will close on Wednesday.