News / Asia

    Fresh Talks Keep China-Taiwan Ties on Track

    Zhang Zhijun (L), director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, shakes hands with Mainland Affairs Council Vice Minister Chang Hsien-yao, after arriving at Taoyuan International Airport, northern Taiwan, June 25, 2014.
    Zhang Zhijun (L), director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, shakes hands with Mainland Affairs Council Vice Minister Chang Hsien-yao, after arriving at Taoyuan International Airport, northern Taiwan, June 25, 2014.
    Ralph Jennings

    Old rivals China and Taiwan held ministerial-level talks Wednesday to shore up relations that were hit by a protest movement earlier this year.  China’s top official in charge of Taiwan affairs is visiting the island to scope out its economic and social conditions. It is the first such high-level visit from China.

    China’s chief official for Taiwan policy Zhang Zhijun met his counterpart Wang Yu-chi shortly after reaching the island’s main airport Wednesday as scores protested his arrival.

    Taiwan says it will announce no new decisions during Zhang’s four-day stay.  His agenda includes chats with common Taiwanese and an opposition party figure.  Those meetings are seen as ways to show that relations can work, despite protests over a proposed trade pact that opponents worry would boost Beijing’s influence over Taipei.

    Strategic studies professor at Tamkang University in Taiwan, Alexander Huang, expects the visit to mark a resumption of dialogue, but without major breakthroughs.

    “I think the biggest contribution will be defined as a good start of a regular scheduled Cabinet-level meeting limited to cross-strait relations management, nothing more, nothing less. They will talk about how to manage the future of bilateral dialogue,” he said.

    China and Taiwan have been separately ruled since the civil war of the 1940s and Beijing claims sovereignty over the island.  In 2008 the two sides broke an icy 60-year impasse with a series of trade, transit and investment deals worked out by semi-official negotiators.

    The two ministers, who met in China earlier this year, talked in private Wednesday.  They were expected to touch on future trade agreements as well as ways to establish de facto consular offices in Beijing and Taipei.  Those offices would support investment and tourism, which have grown briskly on the back of the 21 deals signed since 2008.

    In March, thousands of student-led demonstrators accused Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou of getting too cozy with China without regard to public opinion.  Several hundred occupied parliament to stop ratification of a China service trade liberalization pact.

    A government survey released in January reported that 36 percent of Taiwanese believe exchanges between the two sides are moving too fast and that 57 percent considered China to be unfriendly.

    Taiwan Youth Public Affairs student association southern district head Huang Chun-jung said he would not trust any offers from China following this week’s visit.

    He said that whether it was official or semiofficial contact between the two sides, he held few expectations for results.  He added that China as an enemy could not be expected to give anything.

    The Chinese official is expected to do more listening than talking during his visit.  He said Wednesday he faces a task he likened to a boat traveling upstream, but said he hopes for an improvement in mutual political trust.

    Analysts predict that to keep relations on track he will likely avoid making comments that could stoke anti-China sentiment.  He will meet Taiwan aborigines, a group of low-income people and a figure in the island’s major anti-China opposition party before returning to China on Saturday.  

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora