China & Taiwan Presidents Break 60 Year Silence

Posted by Charlie @ Discovering Mandarin Tuesday, 28 July 2009
Presidents of Taiwan and China exchanged telegrams today for the first time in 60 years, in the latest sign of their thawing relations. President Ma Ying-jeou received a message of congratulation from Chinese President Hu Jintao following the former's election as chairman of the Kuomintang, party officials said yesterday.

Ma won Sunday's election as the sole candidate with 93.87 percent of the vote with a turnout of 57.79 percent of the 533,000 eligible voters.

Today the two presidents Hu Jintao and Taiwan's Ma Ying-jeou exchanged messages, which hope to improve relations between the distanced island, despite the anti-Beijing sentiment in Taiwan.

Beijing still claims sovereignty over Taiwan, which has been self-ruled since Chiang Kai-shek fled there following his defeat in the civil war in 1949. China has previously warned it could use force if Taipei pursued formal independence.

"I hope our two parties can continue to promote peaceful cross-strait development, deepen mutual trust, bring good news to compatriots on both sides and create a revival of the great Chinese race," Hu said in his telegram.

Ma replied he hoped Taiwan and China could "value reality, establish mutual confidence, set disputes aside and achieve a double-win situation."

Ma was elected president in spring last year on a platform of improving relations with China and because of widespread dissatisfaction with the ruling Democratic People's party. He has signed landmark trade deals, and now starting to build bridges with President Hu.

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