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China, Taiwan Leaders Meet in Beijing


The leader of Taiwan's new ruling party has met with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing, in an indication ties between the two rivals are improving. Stephanie Ho has more on the story.

The chairman of Taiwan's Nationalist KMT Party, Wu Poh-hsiung, came to visit China a week after his party returned to power on the island.

In a live televised meeting, Chinese President Hu Jintao welcomed the Taiwanese leader and pointed to Taiwanese generosity following the massive earthquake in Sichuan province.

To a smattering of applause, the Chinese president says on behalf of Chinese people, he wants to wholeheartedly thank Taiwanese compatriots.

Beijing in the past has threatened to attack Taiwan if the self-ruled island seeks permanent independence. China has hundreds of missiles aimed at the island, about 160-kilometers across the Taiwan Strait.

Wu later told reporters this threat of violence is the main issue Taiwan wants to see resolved.

At the same time, the Taiwanese leader says he is satisfied with his talks with Chinese leaders.

He says cross-Strait relations in the past have been tense. Now, though, he says both sides have a new situation and a new opportunity to grasp the chance to go toward what he called "the correct direction of peace and stability."

Last week, the KMT's Ma Ying-jeou took office as Taiwan's president. The KMT's predecessors, the Democratic Progressive Party, were seen as more independence-minded.

Wu stressed to the Chinese president that Taiwan needs an international presence. China has worked hard in recent years to isolate Taiwan diplomatically and to cut it off from anything that legitimizes its sovereignty.

Wu says his first priority is to launch weekend charter flights and to open up Taiwan to tourists from China.

Wu ends his six-day visit by traveling to the Chinese commercial center Shanghai, home to tens of thousands of Taiwanese businesspeople.

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