XIAMEN, May 16 (Xinhua) -- Chu Li-lun, vice chairman of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party, said here Saturday the Straits Forum, as the first "grassroots" exchange event between Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, is "significant" for the future development of the two sides and deepening of mutual understanding.
Chu, who is in the mainland city Xiamen to attend the Straits Forum that opens Saturday evening, told reporters the exchanges between the public of the two sides will also play an important role in facilitating economy and trade and pushing for joint efforts to cope with financial crisis.
He said Taiwan will be actively involved in the mainland project to develop an economic zone on the western side of the Taiwan Straits.
The forum, to run until May 22, features 18 activities including the centerpiece conference, a trade fair, a cultural week, a tourism forum and a seminar on traditional Chinese medicine. It will be co-hosted by Fuzhou, Quanzhou and Putian, three cities in southeastern China's Fujian Province which face Taiwan.
The week-long Straits Forum expects more than 8,000 Taiwan guests, including mayors and magistrates of 25 Taiwan cities and counties as well as heads of key trade organizations on the island.