04/01/2009, 00.00
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"Training course" for better military relations between Beijing and Taipei

Senior officers from the two sides will participate in a forum on international security scheduled for August in Hawaii. Taipei will remove its anti-ship landing barricade from the Quemoy islands, which Beijing bombed for weeks in 1958, without succeeding in occupying them.

Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) -The military leaders of China and Taiwan will participate in the Transnational Security Co-operation forum scheduled to take place in August in Hawaii, organized by the U.S. Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, an institute under the U.S. Department of Defense. It will be the first official meeting between senior officers from the two sides since the division in 1949.

The news was leaked on March 30, from official sources on both sides. The occasion is also important because of the operational character of the meeting, which will involve exchanges of practical information for security and for the management of regional crises. Taiwan has participated in these encounters since 2002, but precisely for that reason China has shunned them until now.

Beijing has also mentioned the possibility of further exchanges on military matters before August, but without providing any details. Sources in Taiwan speak of possible collaboration against computer espionage and hacking at an upcoming meeting in Beijing.

Also on March 30, Taiwan announced its intention of removing, by August 1, part of the anti-ship landing barricade off the Quemoy (or Kinmen) islands, a defense against Chinese ships and submarines. In fact, a 6-kilometer swimming race is planned for that date, from China to the islands. in 1958, China bombed the Quemoy islands for weeks in an attempt to occupy them, because of their great strategic and military value.

Relations between the two countries have improved since Ma Yingjeou, leader of the Kuomintang Party, was elected president in 2008.

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