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Taiwan delays informal China trade talks

world Updated: Oct 19, 2009 11:13 IST
Taiwan and China

Informal trade talks between Taiwan and China scheduled for this week have been delayed, as Taipei officials will be busy answering budget questions in Parliament, the government said on Monday.

The negotiations, expected to take place on the mainland, are now likely to be put off until the end of the month, said Huang Chih-peng, director of Taiwan's Bureau of Foreign Trade and the head of the island's delegation.

"The government budget is under review in Parliament, so we decided to postpone the discussions until the end of this month," he told AFP.

Local media have reported the upcoming talks, the fourth of their kind, are expected to set a timetable for formal discussions.

Taiwan's China-friendly administration hopes the negotiations will lead to a trade agreement, which it says could lift the island's economic growth by one percentage point.

While the government aims for a signed agreement early next year, the opposition, which favours independence from China, has warned the pact could imperil the island's separate status.

Taiwan and China split at the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still considers the island part of its territory, vowing reunification, even if it has to use force.