China and Taiwan Hold First High-Level Talks in 6 Years
China’s President Xi Jinping and the leader of Taiwan’s ruling party, Eric Chu, have held the highest level talks between the two sides in six years.
Nationalist Chairman, Eric Chu, was in Beijing for the meeting, a sign of warming relations between the sides.
Any rapprochement is controversial in Taiwan, which has seen protests over the prospect of closer ties.
Chinese nationalists fled to Taiwan in 1949 after a brutal civil war with the communists.
In the same time, China sees Taiwan as a breakaway province that will ultimately return.
Many Taiwanese oppose reunification and fear that growing economic dependency on Beijing could be the first step towards that outcome, correspondents say.
President Xi Jinping said during the meeting that China and Taiwan should settle political differences through consultation, but with Taiwan’s acceptance that it is part of China, according to Xinhua state news agency. He also said Beijing will make greater efforts to open up to Taiwan and help it to develop economically.
“The two sides can consult with each other on equal basis under the principle of <<one China>>, and reach a reasonable arrangement,” Xi Jinping said.
Taiwan’s Kuomintang (KMT) has seen its popularity decline and protests at home, dubbed the “Sunflower Movement”, over its warming ties with the Chinese Communist Party.
In March last year, hundreds of students occupied parliament for weeks to demonstrate against a trade pact that the KMT signed with China. Thousands rallied on the streets against the mainland.
Eric Chu’s party is nevertheless currently pushing to join China’s new development bank. Taiwan’s initial application to the bank was rejected by Beijing because of the name under which it applied, which implied it was an independent nation.
However, Beijing said it would welcome an application by Taiwan under an “appropriate” name.
The KMT had its worst-ever performance in local elections in November and the President Ma Ying-jeou stepped down as party chief, to be replaced by Eric Chu.