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Taiwan official urges stable China ties on historic visit

AFP | Last Updated: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 13:10

Beijing: A Taiwan official visiting China on Wednesday urged more efforts to build stable relations, a day after the two sides held their first government-to-government talks since splitting 65 years ago.

Taiwan`s top official overseeing China policy, Wang Yu-chi, visited the tomb of revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen in the eastern city of Nanjing and paid tribute to the man revered by both sides.

"In future, the most important issue is that both sides of the (Taiwan) strait should face reality, pragmatically confront and solve problems so as to build long-term, stable cross-strait relations," Wang said after climbing up and down the hill with Sun`s mausoleum.

Sun is widely recognised as the father of the Chinese revolution that established a republic early last century after thousands of years of dynastic rule. He was also the leader of the Kuomintang, or Nationalist, party which now governs Taiwan.
After they lost China`s civil war -- which cost millions of lives -- to Mao Zedong`s Communists in 1949, two million supporters of then Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan.

The island and the mainland have been governed separately ever since, both claiming to be the true government of China and only re-establishing contact in the 1990s through quasi-official organisations.

The latest meeting was the result of years of slow efforts to improve political ties on the back of a strong economic relationship.

Wang and his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun met for around two hours on Tuesday in a meeting which yielded little in terms of concrete agreements but was laden with symbolism.

"The meeting will go down in history less because of what Wang and Zhang discussed, but because of the very fact that they met," the state-backed China Daily newspaper said in an editorial Wednesday.

"It is naive to place too much expectations on one single meeting. It will take strenuous efforts from both sides to build up mutual political trust," it added.

The election of Ma Ying-jeou of the Kuomintang as Taiwan`s president in 2008 improved relations with China, which were strained in the mid-1990s when Beijing conducted "missile tests" in the waters near the island.

Beijing`s Communist authorities still aim to reunite all of China under their rule, and view Taiwan as a rebel province awaiting reunification with the mainland -- by force if necessary.

First Published: Wednesday, February 12, 2014 - 13:10
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