Mar 28, 2007

Taiwan: Dialog with China Gets a Push

In attempts to normalize relations with Chinese authorities, Taiwan’s Parliament Speaker Wang Ching-pying will visit China next month for talks with Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao.

Below is an article published by M&C News:

Strained Taiwan-China ties may get a breakthrough soon as Taiwan's Parliament Speaker Wang Ching-pying will visit China next month for talks with Chinese leaders, a newspaper said Wednesday.  

The China Times, quoting an unnamed Taipei government official, said that Wang with consent from Taiwan authorities will visit Beijing in April to discuss expanding cross-strait contacts.

Wang is expected to meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao and discuss economic issues including opening banking contacts and cargo charter flights.

Wang is expected to sign agreements with Chinese officials on cargo charter flights and on opening banking business across the Taiwan Strait, the official said.

The official said that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian is aware of Wang's plans to visit China. Instead of opposing it, Chen has instructed the National Security Bureau and the Mainland Affairs Council to assist Wang in his trip.

The United States has been informed of Wang's planned trip and holds a positive attitude.

Because Wang is the parliament speaker, if he gets to meet Hu, it will not only be exchanging ideas but will be signing documents, and that will be a breakthrough as important as the first Taipei-Beijing dialogue held in 1993.

Taiwan and China split in 1949, when the Chinese Nationalists lost the Chinese Civil War and fled to Taiwan to set up their government- in-exile.

In 1993, Taipei and Beijing held their historic dialogue in Singapore and conducted a series of follow-up talks to discuss legal disputes, fishing quarrels and deportations of Chinese skyjackers and job seekers.

China halted talks in 1995 to retaliate against former president Lee Teng-hui's advocating Taiwan independence on his US trip.

Since then, Taiwan has been urging China to resume the talks. Beijing refused, saying that Taiwan must first accept the 'one China' policy, which would admit that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of China.

Despite the tension between the two governments, Taiwan's pro- unification opposition leaders Lien Chan and James Soong visited China in 2005, opening an alternative channel of communication between Taipei and Beijing.

They met with Hu and signed agreements vowing to promote economic cooperation to achieve eventual unification.

Wang is different from Lien and Soong because, though he is also a heavyweight of Taiwan's largest opposition party KMT, he is a Taiwan native and is seen as an impartial figure in Taiwan politics.

His visit to China will carry some official colour, though Wang does not hold any position in Chen's administration.