China - Taiwan: door for dialogue and negotiation is opened

Taking a chapter from Chinese-American diplomacy during the Nixon administration, China announced Tuesday that it would give a pair of giant pandas to Taiwan, the latest step in an evolving dйtente.

In gestures to mark the end of the weeklong visit to China by Lien Chan, chairman of Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party, Chinese officials also said they would increase imports of Taiwanese fruit and allow more Chinese to visit Taiwan.

The moves, announced by the official New China News Agency, are clearly intended to appeal to public sentiment here and force President &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Chen Shui-bian to improve ties, reports the New York Times.

Lien Chan, head of Taiwan's Nationalist Party, was preparing to return home Tuesday following an eight-day visit, the highest level contact between the two sides since the Nationalists fled to the island after the 1949 communist conquest of the mainland.

Lien and Chinese President &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Hu Jintao on Friday issued a joint pledge to promote an end to hostilities between the sides. On Monday, Lien called again for peace talks, saying mainland leaders appear more responsive to Taiwanese proposals on settling their 59-year-old feud than in the past.

Later Monday, on the final evening of his visit, Lien dined with Shanghai's mayor and other officials.

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