Wu Po-hsiung (L), chairman of Taiwan's ruling
Nationalist Party (KMT), and Chinese President Hu Jintao
shake hands at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.(AP/Kyodo)

Chinese-Taiwanese Tension Thaws as Talks Begin

June 01, 2008 10:00 PM
by Denis Cummings
Chinese and Taiwanese officials have agreed to hold regular talks, a sign of warming relations between the two governments.

30-Second Summary

In the highest-level contact between the two governments since 1949, Chinese President Hu Jintao met on May 29 with Wu Poh-hsiung, chairman of Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) party.

The two sides will meet again in Beijing on June 11 to discuss China-Taiwan charter flights and tourism opportunities. Chinese tourists are currently forced to enter Taiwan through a third country, but KMT officials may be willing to drop that requirement.

The thaw in relations comes soon after Taiwan’s election of KMT member Ma Ying-jeou as president, overturning the eight-year rule of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). Ma favors reunification with China, though he has promised to maintain Taiwan’s de facto statehood.

The two governments have differed for decades over whether the two nations are separate and, if not, which one should rule the other.

The tension dates back to end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, when Chairman Mao won control of mainland China, establishing the communist People’s Republic of China. Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to the island of Taiwan, a former Japanese colony also known as the Republic of China (ROC).

Chiang’s ROC government claimed the right to rule both Taiwan and mainland China. The KMT party still shares this view, but a majority of Taiwanese people favor complete independence from China.

Ma supports the “1992 consensus,”
in which China and Taiwan agreed that there was “one China” but disagreed as to who ruled it.

Many analysts hope the current talks will resolve the longstanding conflict. But some fear that Taiwan’s government is moving too close to China.

Headline Link: China and Taiwan to hold regular talks

Background: KMT party wins election

Historical Context: Relations between China and Taiwan

Key Players: Ma Ying-jeou and Hu Jintao

Opinion & Analysis: How will the talks affect China and Taiwan?

Related Topics: China-Japan, Israel-Syria, Greece-Turkey


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