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Taiwan edges closer to China with one nation talk
By Benjamin Kang Lim Tue May 27, 4:18 AM ET
BEIJING (Reuters) - China and Taiwan edged closer to a resumption of fence-mending talks on Tuesday when the chairman of the island's ruling party echoed the Chinese line that both sides are part of a single nation.
"Both sides are tied by blood to the Chinese nation and this cannot be obliterated by anyone," Taiwan's Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung said in Nanjing, the capital when the KMT ruled all of China.
Taiwan's new president, Ma Ying-jeou, also made the pledge -- a move Beijing considers a political necessity for talks frozen since 1999 to resume -- in his May 20 inauguration speech.
The movement of cross-Straits relations appears glacial and opaque to most outsiders, but the "one China" policy -- although defined differently by each side -- is the pillar of stability in one of Asia's most dangerous flashpoints.
China spurned the DPP, which was routed in the March presidential elections by the KMT. The Nationalists oppose independence but are in no hurry to get into bed with China politically.
After eight years of troubled ties between China and a DPP-ruled Taiwan, talks are set to resume under the KMT.
Wu is due to meet Chinese Communist Party chief Hu Jintao in Beijing on Wednesday -- the first meeting between heads of the ruling parties of China and Taiwan in six decades.
"We should all seize this new opportunity in cross-Strait relations, face up to history, face reality and look into the future," Wu said. "There are many difficulties, but so long as both sides are sincere, peaceful development will definitely have brighter prospects."
For China, Wu's visit this week appears to demonstrate that the Communist Party's fundamental policy of eventually bringing Taiwan back to the fold is working.
The visitors and hosts observed a minute of silence to mourn victims of China's deadliest earthquake in three decades. The tremor struck the southwestern province of Sichuan on May 12, killing more than 65,000 people and leaving millions homeless.
During his six-day visit, Wu will dine, but not wine, with Taiwan investors to show respect for quake victims. Taiwan businessmen have been among the top donors.
Wu's 16-member delegation will also tour the venue for Olympic baseball -- Taiwan's favorite sport -- and the National Stadium, known as the Bird's Nest, in Beijing.