Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian says he will not accept Beijing's "one China" policy as a precondition for any talks with communist leaders on the mainland, because that would amount to surrendering Taiwan's sovereignty.
In an interview Friday, Mr. Chen said Taiwan and China should begin talks on economic, transport and tourism issues. He told the Reuters news agency he is hopeful such talks would be successful, despite the two sides' dispute over sovereignty for the island.
The divide between Taipei and Beijing began at the end of Chinese revolution in 1949. The communist leadership insists there is but one China, and that Taiwan must eventually yield to Beijing's control.
China has threatened war if Taiwan formally declares its independence, but Mr. Chen told Reuters today there is no need for such a declaration, because independence for Taiwan already "is a reality."
Mr. Chen said any change in Taiwan's political status would have to be approved by the island's 23 million citizens in a referendum.