China eyes ties with Taiwan opposition

March 30, 2006 at 4:38 AM
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BEIJING, March 30 (UPI) -- Beijing expects direct talks and closer ties with Taipei if opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou wins Taiwan's next presidential election, a Beijing official said.

The spokesman for China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Li Weiyi, said Beijing would work with the opposition Kuomintang party to implement agreements reached between the party and China's ruling Communist Party last year. The agreements included discussions on allowing Taiwan to participate in international affairs, among other things.

Speaking to journalists in Beijing Wednesday, Li declined to comment on Ma's 10-day trip to the United States, the South China Morning Post reported. Ma had flaunted Beijing's policy by telling an audience in New York that the "one China" should be the Republic of China.

Li also criticized President Chen Shui-bian for asking his government to reject two giant pandas Beijing has offered as a gift to the Taiwanese people. Taiwan's department of agriculture is expected to announce a decision on the matter by April 3. Two Taipei zoos have applied for permission to house the pandas.

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