Taiwan and China inaugurated today the Taipei-Shanghai Forum with which both sides resume their contacts at the municipal level after the opposition victory in the local island elections on November 24.
Deputy Mayor of Shanghai, Zhou Bo, arrived at Taipei Airport on Wednesday accompanied by the largest Chinese delegation of the last two years, made up of 135 members.
However, Zhou was received by Taiwanese independence groups carrying banners with phrases such as "Taiwan and China, two countries, one on each side of the Strait".
Although the charismatic and independent Taipei mayor, Ko Wen-je, has declared that the forum is not political, experts on the island see him as the precursor of a cluster of similar encounters between Chinese cities and Taiwanese cities controlled by the opposition, friendly with Beijing, after the local elections.
"At a time of tensions between the central government of the island and China, contacts at the city level can offer a channel for the improvement of ties," Professor Chen Li-Jiuan, an internationalist at Tamkang University, told Efe.
Ko stressed that the event is carried out on the basis of "family spirit on both sides of the Strait" and under the principles of "know, understand, respect, cooperate and understand each other," according to island media.
The central theme of this forum is the circular economy, but it is also planned to boost cooperation between Taipei and Shanghai in tourism, cultural development, urban renewal and environmental protection, according to the municipal government of Taipei.
The Progressive Democratic Party of Taiwan suffered a major setback in the local elections on November 24, in which it won only six mayorships compared to 15 won by the opposition Kuomintang Party.