05/29/2008, 00.00

Taipei, Beijing agree: direct talks resume after 10-year freeze

During the historic meeting between the Chinese president and the nationalist leader of Taiwan, a Taiwanese delegation is invited to discuss, in Beijing, direct flights and visas.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The Chinese and Taiwanese governments have agreed to resume direct talks, after a diplomatic freeze of more than 10 years.  The confirmation came yesterday evening, after the highly anticipated meeting between president Hu Jintao and head of the Chinese nationalist party of Taiwan, Wu Poh-hsiung.  This was the highest level meeting between the two sides since 1949, the year when Chiang Kai-shek was driven out of China by Maoist troops.

The Chinese government has sent an official letter of invitation to its Taiwanese counterpart.  The next meeting will be held in Beijing from June 11-14, with the aim of establishing direct flights and streamlining the process of issuing visas for Chinese tourists who want to visit the island.  According to the text of the letter, sent by the Chinese Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, "we hope the talks will make progress on the two issues to meet the expectations of people from both sides of the strait".

Chiang Pin-kun, chairman of Taiwan's Strait Exchange Foundation, says that the invitation "comes at the right time".  He will be the one who will lead the island's delegation of businessmen and government officials to the Chinese capital.  In its invitation, the Chinese government also emphasises its desire to follow the parameters established in the "1992 consensus", a text drafted by the two governments - but never put into effect - that establishes common guidelines for the interpretation of the "one China" concept.

This is the cornerstone of Beijing's foreign-policy, and establishes the indivisibility of the Chinese territory.  Nonetheless, Hu Jintao has "opened up" to Taipei, acknowledging that "this way of thinking can have different interpretations".

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