06/03/2009, 00.00
TAIWAN – CHINA – UNITED STATES
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US-Taiwanese improve as mainlanders go on a shopping spree in Taiwan

Taiwanese President Ma and US Secretary Clinton hold an informal meeting in El Salvador ahead of more formal meetings, interrupted during pro-independence Chen Shui-bian presidency. Mainland businesses go on shopping spree in Taiwan.
Taipei (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Trade between the mainland and Taiwan is up. In El Salvador Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou briefly met on Monday US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Since his election in May 2008 Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has improved relations with mainland China. Direct air and maritime links have been established and trade has increase.

On Sunday representatives of 46 leading Chinese companies, including computer and home appliances manufacturers like Lenovo and Haier, arrived on the island.

Led by Li Shuilin the mainlanders have come on a spending spree worth billions of dollars in goods and parts to meet a Chinese government plan to provide supplies to rural and urban residents.

Taiwanese papers have suggested that purchases could amount to US$ 8 billion.

If confirmed it would fulfill a pledge made by Chinese leaders to help the island counter its recent economic slump.

Across the world, in the Central American country of El Salvador, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met the Taiwanese president at an official ceremony.

El Salvador is one 23 mostly small nations in the Americas, Africa and the South Pacific that recognise Taiwan in lieu of the People’s Republic of China.

“Dialogue between us and the United States will generally be close,” Taiwanese Foreign Ministry spokesman Henry Chen said on Monday.

Talks between Taipei and Washington had stalled because of tense cross-strait relations under independence-leaning former Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian.

The United States switched diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979, recognising “one China”, but is obliged by the Taiwan Relations Act to help the island if it comes under attack.

Since Mr Ma’s elections last year, secretive high-level US visits were made to restart semi-annual talks.

When asked to comment on the “brief meeting,” Beijing's Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang urged the United States to handle the Taiwan issue carefully and properly, and not create a “Two Chinas” or a “One China and One Taiwan” scenario.

Since this is taken for granted, it is unlikely that Beijing is troubled by relations between the two sides.

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