Wednesday October 20, 2010
China says in no rush to talk politics with Taiwan
BEIJING (Reuters) - China is in no rush to begin talks with historic rival Taiwan over sensitive military or political issues, Beijing's top man in charge of policy towards the self-ruled island was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
Wang Yi, head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, told overseas Chinese in New York that promoting economic ties with Taiwan was still the priority, state news agency Xinhua said.
"For the time being complex issues of politics or the military cannot be talked about, but various kinds of political dialogue can be opened to increase understanding," Xinhua cited Wang as saying.
"What is important is to seek and maintain the stable development of relations, for only then can setbacks be avoided," he added. "The focus for the time being and to come is still to deepen economic cooperation."
China and Taiwan have been ruled separately since 1949 when defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island following the Communist victory in a civil war.
While China has never renounced the use of force to bring the democratic island under its control, the two have signed a series of landmark trade and tourism deals since the election of the China-friend Ma Ying-jeou as Taiwan president in 2008.
China offered last week to open talks on military issues with Taiwan in a move that could cool a potential flashpoint in the Asia-Pacific region and help the warming ties, but it drew a cool reaction from the island.
Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party has balked at any suggestion of political talks, saying the two sides must trust each other more before seeking agreements on thorny political or military matters.
Wang said that forces seeking the island's formal independence remained a threat to peace and stability, an apparent reference to feisty opposition parties which favour setting up a Republic of Taiwan, which China strongly opposes.
If they are not "effectively and completely controlled then it will be hard to basically stabilise the situation in the Taiwan Strait, and relations ... may run the risk of stalling or going backward", Wang added.
President Ma said late on Tuesday he had no timeline for talking politics with China and would avoid any such talks until the two sides had finished with economic issues.
Analysts say China is upping pressure on Ma to discuss political agreements.
"There's definitely a sense of urgency to get this thing going," said Raymond Wu, managing director of Taipei-based political risk consultancy e-telligence.
(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Additional reporting by Ralph Jennings in Taipei; Editing by Robert Birsel)
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