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China says ready to talk to Taiwan, end hostility

world Updated: Mar 05, 2009 14:20 IST

AP
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China's Premier Wen Jiabao said on Thursday 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 cheered a significant improvement in ties and a major reduction in tensions over the past year between Beijing and the self-governing island it 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" between the sides, 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 December 31 address.

Wen gave no additional details on the content of a peace agreement or what the talks on political and military issues would include. However, the tone of his remarks were far more conciliatory than the typically hawkish references to Taiwan contained in previous addresses to the congress.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council had no immediate comment on Wen's remarks.