. China News .

Taiwan official expects smooth times with China
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Feb 1, 2012

A Taiwanese official predicted Wednesday that China would maintain a conciliatory stance with Taipei, saying that likely next leader Xi Jinping has experience dealing with the self-ruling island.

John Chiang, the vice chairman of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou's Kuomintang party, said that Chinese President Hu Jintao has been the chief force behind a policy of "emphasizing carrots over sticks" with the self-ruling island.

"I think these kinds of policies will continue to be there for wooing the support of the Taiwanese public," Chiang said.

"And they will say it's best to have the coming several years spent entrenching the economic accomplishments across the strait," Chiang said at the Heritage Foundation think tank on a visit to Washington.

Taiwanese voters last month re-elected Ma, who sealed a landmark free trade agreement with mainland China as part of his efforts to ease tension with Beijing, which considers the island a territory awaiting reunification.

Chiang, a former foreign minister, reiterated that Ma's administration was not seeking to enter talks on sensitive topics such as a peace treaty, saying there is "no hurry to move towards the political area."

Chiang said that Vice President Xi Jinping, who is widely expected to take over next year at China's helm, had plenty of experience dealing with Taiwanese when he served as a leader in investor-friendly coastal Fujian province.

"Given his bunch of experiences in dealing with Taiwanese investors, businessmen and also on cross-strait relations, I see no reason he will have a different policy toward Taiwan," Chiang said.

His remarks echo those of Ma, who said ahead of the election that he did not see "any significant difference" on Taiwan between Xi and Hu.

Domestic critics of Ma charge that growing Chinese investment threatens to chip away at democratic Taiwan's de facto independence.

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