Chinese President Hu Jintao meets Taiwan’s vice president-elect

April 12th, 2008 - 8:54 pm ICT by admin  

Beijing, April 12 (DPA) Chinese President Hu Jintao and Taiwan’s vice president-elect Vincent Siew Saturday held landmark talks that were expected to set the tone for future Taipei-Beijing ties. The meeting was the highest-ranking contact between the two countries since both split at the end of a civil war in 1949. The 20-minute meeting was “very frank, friendly and achieved results”, Siew said in a brief statement after the talks on southern island resort of Hainan.

Taipei’s position was that the two sides should “face reality, envision the future and put aside differences”, Siew said.

Hu said promoting cross-Strait trade ties needed cooperation from both sides.

Speaking immediately before the closed talks, Hu called Siew a expert in economics and asked to hear his views on bilateral economic links.

Siew said Taiwan’s economy was dependent on Asia and the whole world, so it was important for Taiwan and China to seek economic cooperation.

Siew and his running mate, president-elect Ma Ying-jeou, of the pro-China opposition Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang (KMT), won a landslide victory March 20 over the ruling, pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. Ma and Siew are to be sworn May 20.

Speaking before the talks Friday, US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said the meeting between Hu and Siew was “a good way forward”.

“We believe that the best way to settle differences over the Taiwan Strait is by peaceful means,” Negroponte told reporters.

“So yes, I would say that this (meeting) is a good way forward,” he said.

Siew led a delegation to Hainan to attend the annual Bo’ao Forum for Asia, which is modelled on the World Economic Forum held every year in Davos, Switzerland.

On Sunday afternoon, he will preside over a Taiwan-China roundtable economic meeting before returning home Sunday evening.

China’s state media gave extensive coverage to Siew’s visit before the meeting with Hu, but Saturday focussed on Hu’s keynote speech at the forum.

Speaking to reporters on Friday at Taoyuan International Airport outside Taipei, Siew said the purpose of his trip was to introduce Taiwan’s economic blueprint to foreign countries so Taiwan could quickly link up with the world market.

Taiwan and China split in 1949 when the Chinese Nationalists lost the Chinese Civil War and fled to Taiwan to set up a government-in-exile.

China regards Taiwan, which is recognised by 23 countries, as Beijing’s breakaway province, and Chinese leaders have shunned contact with Taiwan leaders.

Because of political sensitivity, Siew attended forum in his capacity as chairman of the private Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation.

It was the sixth time Siew led a delegation from Taiwan to the forum since 2003.

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