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Taiwan, China to hold military talks in Hawaii


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POSTED: Wednesday, April 01, 2009

TAIPEI, Taiwan » China and Taiwan said yesterday the two sides will send representatives to a summer military workshop in Hawaii, paving the way for their first military meeting since they split amid civil war six decades ago.

The official China Daily newspaper in Beijing cited senior military officials as saying that “;servicemen from the mainland and Taiwan will meet for the first time”; at the August event, in which two-star generals from 28 countries and regions are scheduled to participate.

A Taiwanese Ministry of Defense spokesman, Maj. Gen. Yu Sy-tue, said Taiwan will send officers to the workshop, but did not confirm that China also will be attending.

The workshop, an annual event focusing on regional security and crisis management, is sponsored by the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, a U.S. Department of Defense-funded think tank with close links to the Hawaii-based Pacific Command.

APCSS spokeswoman Mary Markovinovic said China has been invited to attend this year's course, but was not aware that Taiwan had been.

Relations between Taiwan and China have improved rapidly under new Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, a strong advocate of closer economic and political ties between the sides.

Ma came to office last May, replacing Chen Shui-bian, who was reviled by Beijing for his pro-independence views—anathema to the mainland's contention that Taiwan is part of its territory, to be brought back into the fold by persuasion if possible, by force if necessary.

In its report, China Daily said China attended the Hawaii workshop beginning in 2000, but suspended its participation in 2002 when Taiwan began taking part.