China says it is willing to provide economic assistance to Taiwan if
the island needs it to get through the global financial downturn.
Representatives from the Chinese Communist Party and the Taiwanese
Nationalist Party are in Shanghai for a two-day forum aimed at further
improving cross-straight economic ties.
China's official Xinhua news agency quoted
Jia Qinglin, a senior Communist party leader, as saying Saturday that if
Taiwan asks for help, Beijing will do its utmost to offer assistance.
said Jia made the comment at the opening of a two-day meeting between
the two sides in Shanghai. Jia did not specify what kind of assistance
or how much would be offered.
The statement was the latest indication of warming relations between the two rivals.
chairman of KMT, Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party, Wu Poh-hsiung
attended along with a delegation of 400 businessmen, experts and
officials from both sides according to China's official Xinhua news
Wu says the two sides should treasure the current
relationship of great peace, great development and great communication
said Taiwan's Wu. He said they should patch up the opportunities lost
in the past and at the same time create more benefits for people and
enterprises on both sides of Strait.
Tensions between China and
Taiwan have eased significantly since the inauguration of Taiwanese
President Ma Ying-jeou in May. In contrast to his pro-independence
predecessor, Ma wants to normalize economic relations with China by
skirting thorny political issues and concentrating on economic pacts.
Monday, China and Taiwan launched the first direct air, sea and postal
links since the two sides split amid civil war in 1949. The links are
the result of an agreement reached in Taipei in November amidst
widespread street protests. Prior to the agreement, cargo, passenger
flights and postage have had to pass through a third point such as Hong
Kong or Macau.
Many Taiwanese fear that these cross-strait
agreements are coming too quickly, and potentially risk Taiwan's
security and cultural identity. China officially views
democratically-ruled Taiwan as a runaway province and has threatened to
take the island by force should its leaders move to formalize de facto
independence. At the meeting Saturday, Jia Qinglin tried to reassure
the Taiwanese people.
"Some of our Taiwan compatriots still worry
about the relationship between both sides of the Strait," Jai said. " We
would like to convey that we understand their feelings and are willing
to treat each other honestly."
The KMT, officially supports
eventual unification with China, a stance that pleases Beijing's
leaders. For now, however, even the KMT has ruled out political
unification, citing the huge gulf between China's one-party system and
Taiwan's maturing democracy.