Chinese Communist Party Chief Hu Jintao met with the Taiwanese Nationalist Party head Lien Chan today in a historic meeting between the old rivals,
the first in 60 years. The visit comes as relations between Taiwan and China have become increasingly strained. Lien had earlier this morning given
a speech at the prestigious Beijing University urging both sides to "beat swords into ploughs to create a cross-Strait peace'.'
China President Hu Jintao called Taiwan opposition Nationalist Party Chairman Lien Chan a ``friend'' and said their landmark meeting today shows
the determination of the political rivals to forge peaceful ties.
The meeting is the highest-ranking between Chinese and Taiwanese politicians since 1949, when Nationalist troops lost a civil war to Mao Zedong's
Communist forces and fled to the island. Taiwan and China, which have had separate governments for 56 years, have been urged by the U.S. to find ways
to keep the peace and to strengthen relations.
Before meeting Hu, Lien gave an address in Beijing today at the 107-year-old Peking University, China's oldest. He urged China to seek peace with
Taiwan. In his address, Lien also said China should pursue ``democratic experiments,'' urging the government to continue rural elections. Taiwan's
own democratic roots are relatively new. The island held its first democratic presidential election nine years earlier.
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The last time a Chinese Communist Party Chief met his Nationalist (also known as the Kuomintang) counterpart was in 1945, following the defeat of the
Japanese. Mao Zedong, then leader of the Communists met with Chiang Kai-Shek, then leader of the Nationalists to discuss post-war reconstruction.
The talks broke down and in 1949, Chiang fled to Taiwan after losing the civil war and continued as the Republic of China (ROC). The People's
Republic of China (PRC) was formed on October 1st, 1949.
Mao Zedong shares a toast with Chiang Kai-Shek
Taiwan was ruled through Martial Law by the Nationalists until Chiang's son, insituted democratic reforms in the 80's. The Nationalists were
defeated in 2000 elections by the Pro-Independence Chen Sui-Bien's Democratic Progressive Party after James Song's People's First Party split from
the Nationalists. Song and Lien teamed up in the 2004 elections and were beaten by 0.3% or 30,000 votes out of 23 million after Chen Sui-Bien
suffered a mysterious assassination attempt at the eve of the elections while trialling badly at the polls. The Nationalists cried foul saying that
the shooting was staged to garner sympathy votes.
China-Taiwan relationship has being rocky in recent years, China test-fired missiles in 1996 as an attempt to influence the Taiwanese election. China
has apparantly aimed 706 cruise missiles at Taiwan and has recently adopted a Anti-Secession Law that gives China the legal right to "use
non-peaceful" means if Taiwan makes moves towards Independence.
The Move by Lien is seen by some as an attempt by China to isolate Chen, the PFP's (the second largest opposition party in Taiwan) head James Song,
is also scheduled to visit Beijing next month. China has refused to talk to Chen unless he adopts the "1992 consensus" in which both sides agrees
to "One China" but may have they own interpretations of what that means.
Personally, i welcome the move as the U.S. State Department put it, "any talks is better then no talks". However i urge both sides from refraining
to change the status quo, the 1992 consensus clearly allows flexibility to both sides. Taiwanese President Chen should stop his moves at
de-sinofication in Taiwan and moves towards independence while China should show flexibility and consider talking to Chen.
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[edit on 29-4-2005 by rapier28]