Accessibility links

Breaking News

Taiwan Rejects Chinese President's Offer of Peace Talks


The Taiwan government has rejected China's offer of peace talks. Beijing's offer came Monday during the opening of the Communist Party's 17th Congress. Chinese President Hu Jintao called for negotiations with Taiwan to reach a peace agreement. But authorities in Taipei objected to Beijing's precondition that Taiwan accept the "one-China" principle. Andrew Ryan has the story from Taipei.

Chinese President Hu Jintao's opening speech at the party congress on Monday warned Taiwan against declaring formal independence. This year's statement differed from past speeches, though. It did not directly refer to using force to bring Taiwan under Chinese rule. And Mr. Hu called for talks that could lead to a peace agreement.

But in Taipei, government spokesman Shieh Jhy-wey rejected the offer of negotiations.

Shieh says Taiwan will not discuss peace, unification or anything else with a country that, in his words, oppresses Tibet, kills its own citizens, and supports the military government of Burma.

Friction between Beijing and Taipei has increased in recent months following Taiwan's latest bid to join the United Nations as a separate country. China considers self-ruled Taiwan part of Chinese territory awaiting reunification - by force if necessary.

Official negotiations between the two sides stalled in 1999 after then-Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui referred to ties as "special state-to-state" relations. That choice of words could suggest Taiwan is a separate country - language Beijing rejects.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, the government's top body charting China policy, also responded to Monday's offer of peace talks. The council issued a statement criticizing China's "one China" policy, calling it the "biggest obstacle" in cross-strait relations. The council also said it is up to the 23 million people of Taiwan to decide on the island's future.