Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • Wreckage from missing Algerian plane reportedly found: Malian TV

    Read more

  • France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Stage set for historic China-Taiwan meeting

Latest update : 2008-04-12

Taiwan's vice president-elect, Vincent Siew, (photo) is set to meet Chinese President Hu Jintao Saturday on the sidelines of a business conference in southern China in the highest-level encounter between China and Taiwan since the 1949 civil war.

 

Taiwan's vice president-elect was set to hold a historic meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday, an event hailed by the United States as "the best way forward" for the two arch rivals.

 

Vincent Siew's meeting with Hu, expected to last just 20 minutes, is the highest-level encounter between China and Taiwan since the two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949.

 

"We think that dialogue between the People's Republic of China and the authorities, leaders on Taiwan is the best way forward," US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte told reporters in Washington.

 

Siew was to meet Hu as head of a Taiwan delegation visiting the south Chinese island of Hainan for the Boao Forum for Asia, a gathering China hopes to transform into a regional version of the Davos meetings.

 

Siew, the running mate of Taiwan president-elect Ma Ying-jeou, has not yet assumed office after last month's elections.

 

However the meeting is seen as the first major test of the incoming Ma administration's ability to bring about better ties with China, a promise that was considered decisive in Ma's poll victory.

 

"I hope that through this meeting we can deepen the understanding between the two sides and also create a basis for common trust," Siew told reporters Friday. "It's also my hope that through this meeting we can help melt the ice."

 

Members of Siew's delegations said they expected him to meet Hu sometime in the afternoon, although no final time had been made public.

 

On Saturday morning Siew met with Philippine ex-president Fidel Ramos, and he was expected later to also hold talks with former Australian prime minister Bob Hawke.

 

Siew is in Boao as chairman of a non-profit organisation, a capacity in which he has previously attended the forum five times, and he has also met with Hu there before.

 

With anticipation high ahead of Saturday's meeting, members of the Taiwan delegation were eager to stress the Boao forum is mainly about economics.

 

"Don't expect anything too concrete. The time for the meeting is short. We shouldn't be too greedy, and we aren't greedy," said Su Chi, a leading member of Siew's delegation.

 

The significance of the meeting would be to signal Taiwan's willingness to "start making friends again," he argued.

 

"We are an island and need to make friends. With many friends and few enemies, Taiwan has won. With many enemies and few friends, Taiwan has lost," said Su.

 

Ma, the more China-friendly of two candidates in last month's Taiwan election, has vowed to improve relations with the mainland, increase trade, tourism and transport links, and work on a peace treaty to end hostilities.

 

Political relations between China and Taiwan deteriorated during the past eight years, during which the island has been ruled by the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.

 

But China has become Taiwan's number one export market and its biggest trading partner. Two-way trade last year reached a record 102 billion US dollars.

 

Analysts say any meeting with Hu would likely help smooth political tensions that have hamstrung relations despite the ever closer economic links tying the island to China.

Date created : 2008-04-12

COMMENT(S)