Taiwan Moves Toward Closer Ties With China

Prez candidates favor warmer relations, despite Tibet violence
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 20, 2008 8:39 AM CDT
Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou wears lucky banner handed by supporters during a presidential election campaign rally, Thursday, March 20, 2008.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Both candidates in Taiwan's presidential election Saturday favor mending fences with China, the Wall Street Journal reports. Beijing has recently eased its once-blustery rhetoric over the breakaway island, and both Taiwanese parties are betting that closer ties with the mainland's booming economy could help pull theirs out of a slump.

Taipei's current chief toed a hard line, curbing investment in China and fueling suspicions of the looming giant. The Nationalist candidate is seeking bolder moves toward reconciliation than his rival, even suggesting a cross-Strait common market—he had a big lead in the polls until riots in Tibet sparked fresh debate over how far China can be trusted.