AS-China-Taiwan 1stLd-Writethru 03-05 Web

China talks of reconciliation

China’s Premier Wen Jiabao said today that Beijing is ready to hold talks with Taiwan on political and military issues in the pursuit of ending hostility between the longtime rivals.

In a report to the annual legislative session’s opening ceremony, Wen hailed a significant improvement in ties and a major reduction in tensions over the past year between China and the self-governing island across the Taiwan Strait that Beijing claims as Chinese territory.

"Positive changes occurred in the situation in Taiwan, and major breakthroughs were made in cross-strait relations," Wen said.

Beijing was ready to hold talks to "create conditions for ending the state of hostility and concluding a peace agreement," he said.


Wen’s remarks to the National People’s Congress were a near word-for-word reiteration of offers made by president and Communist Party leader Hu Jintao in a Dec. 31 address.

Relations have improved since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office last year with a mandate to reduce tensions and strengthen economic ties between the sides.

Wen gave no additional details on the content of a peace agreement or what the talks on political and military issues would include.

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