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A Taiwan delegation headed by Han Kuo-yu (right, second), mayor of Kaohsiung, arrives in Xiamen, East China"s Fujian province on March 26. [Photo/Xiamen Daily]

Trade deals worth more than 1 billion yuan ($149 million) were signed during Kaohsiung mayor Han Kuo-yu’s first tour across the Taiwan Straits, selling the city’s agricultural and fishery products to mainland cities.

The rising star in Taiwan"s Kuomintang party arrived in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Friday, heading a delegation of about 30 officials and businessmen from Kaohsiung.

Han, who assumed office in December, started a weeklong tour which will include the HK SAR, Macao SAR, Shenzhen, Guangdong province, and Xiamen, Fujian province. The trip is scheduled to conclude on Thursday.

Han and his group signed agreements worth 400 million yuan during their stay in Shenzhen and Xiamen, over 500 million yuan in Hong Kong and about 160 million yuan in Macao, said An Fengshan, spokesman for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, on Wednesday.

“The agreements on selling Kaohsiung’s agricultural and fishery products to mainland cities were signed in accordance with the market-oriented operation mechanism,” he said.

Kaohsiung was also invited to join trade and culture exhibitions held in Xiamen every year, including the Straits Forum and China International Fair for Investment and Trade to boost economic ties. The city of Xiamen will hold cultural activities, including a South Fujian dialect chorus show in Kaohsiung, according to An.

Shenzhen will provide 200 internships and jobs for young people in Kaohsiung every year. Xiamen Air will visit Taiwan again this year to recruit 200 flight attendants, and 100 will be set aside for Kaohsiung.

Travel agencies in Shenzhen and Xiamen will be encouraged to organize tours to Kaohsiung under the market mechanism and 8,000 tourists are expected to travel to Kaohsiung in batches, An said, adding Xiamen to Kaohsiung cruise flights will be launched as soon as possible.

“These achievements reflect that the two sides belong to one family, fully demonstrating that on the basis of adhering to the 1992 Consensus and one-China principle, city exchanges across the Straits have broad prospects,” he said.

“Through the trip a consensus was reached on building a cross-Straits city exchange mechanism, showing bright prospects for strengthening cooperation with Kaohsiung in the future,” he said.

“We support more cities on both sides to strengthen exchanges on the basis of the 1992 Consensus and work together for development, so our compatriots in Taiwan will have a greater sense of gain,” he added.

“Only when cross-Strait relations are good will Taiwan be better,” he said, adding: “We hope compatriots on both sides will oppose ‘Taiwan independence’ and actively promote the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations.”