China ready for political, military talks with Taiwan
CHINA: China is ready for talks on political and military
issues with Taiwan, Premier Wen Jiabao said Thursday, seeking to further
a rapprochement between the rivals.
“In the coming year, we will continue to adhere to the principle of
developing cross-strait relations and promoting peaceful reunification
of the motherland,” Wen said at the start of the annual full session of
“We are... ready to hold talks on cross-strait political and military
issues and create conditions for ending the state of hostility and
concluding a peace agreement.”
China usually refers to relations with Taiwan as “cross-strait”,
referring to the narrow Taiwan Strait separating the island and the
China and Taiwan have been governed separately since the end of a
civil war in 1949 but Beijing considers the island part of its
territory, insisting that reunification is only a question of time.
Their relationship has long been considered one of Asia’s potential
war flashpoints and both sides have engaged in an expensive military
build-up in the event of a conflict.
China has targeted Taiwan with more than 1,000 short-range ballistic
and cruise missiles, according to defence authorities on the island.
From 2000 to 2008, the relationship was particularly bad, as Beijing
watched the island’s independence-minded president Chen Shui-bian push
for greater autonomy. However relations have improved markedly since the
more China-friendly Ma Ying-jeou became president of Taiwan in May last
year, highlighted by the introduction of direct regular flights between
the two sides.
Wen’s call for military talks extended an invitation originally made
by President Hu Jintao at the end of last year.
Wen also referred to Taiwan’s long ambition to participate in
international organisations such as the United Nations, although he
insisted the baseline criteria remained. “We are ready to make fair and
reasonable arrangements through consultation on the issue of Taiwan’s
participation in the activities of international organisations,” Wen
But such participation would have to come under the “one-China
principle”, he said, which maintains that Beijing is the sole legitimate
government of all of China, including Taiwan.
Wen also said China would work to improve already lucrative economic
ties between the two sides with the aim of jointly overcoming the global
economic crisis. “We will accelerate normalisation of cross-strait
economic relations and facilitate the signing of a comprehensive
agreement on economic cooperation,” Wen said.
Beijing, Thursday, AFP