10/06/2009, 00.00
CHINA - TAIWAN
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Beijing seeks to accelerate the easing of tensions with Taiwan

China invites the President of the People First Party. Until now relations were favoured with the Komintang Party currently in power. Meanwhile, China lends the museum in Taiwan 37 major works of ancient art, but the island does not return the favour.

Beijing (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Representatives of Taiwan's People First Party will participate in a 3-day forum organized by the Communist Party of China in Hangzhou (Zhejiang) in early November. Experts say that the invitation to this party is a sign of Beijing's willingness for a warming in realtions.

So far, China has had relations especially with the Kuomintang (KMT) Party, in power since 2008. James Soong Chuyu, PFP chairman owho is leading the delegation of politicians and experts, has already been in Shanghai in September 2005 and met with Chinese President Hu Jintao (pictured), inaugurating a period of detente in relations between the 2 countries. His visit opened the way to that of Lien Chan to Beijing in April 2006. Lian Chan was then chairman of the KMT. Since then and after the election to President Ma Yingjeou, China has had multiple meetings with leaders of KMT, now in government. Analysts interpret this PfP invitation as the willingness of Chinese to develop relationships with other political parties to accelerate a process of detente.

The forum will discuss agriculture, water conservation and cooperation on clean energy issues for Taiwan, which is important for the Zhejiang province, the region facing the island with which it has important economic relations. It will be the first official meeting since August when the Dalai Lama visited the victims of typhoon Morakot in Taiwan. The presence of the Tibetan spiritual leader was sharply criticized by Beijing, which reacted by cancelling a bilateral meetings that had already been set.

As part of the growing detente, China has lent 37 major works of ancient art to the National Palace Museum in Taiwan for a joint exhibition on art during the reign of Emperor Yongzheng (mid-18th century). However, the museum has stated that it will not lend its works of art to Beijing, China for fear that they will be seized and not returned because they belong to Chinese history.

The Taipei museum has over 655 thousand works of Chinese art from the Neolithic period to the end of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) covering a span of 7 thousand years. The works were removed from the museum in Beijing by the then Kuomintang government to avoid their being taken by Japanese invaders. But 60 years ago when Chiang Kaishek was defeated by communist forces he fled to Taiwan and brought them with him. Now Taipei fears that Beijing could claim them as their own.

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