Chinese president Hu Jintao has offered peace talks with Taiwan “on an equal footing” – just days before he is due to travel to Washington for a summit with US President George Bush.Hu made his offer to leaders of Taiwan’s opposition National Party – who were leading a 170 strong team of business leaders in Beijing to promote closer economic ties with mainland China. The carrot of closer ties comes with a stick – Beijing has long threatened to invade Taiwan should it ever attempt to declare independence from mainland China – and Taiwan’s government immediately rejected the offer as “insincere“saying that their could be no talks so long as the “one China” principle was a precondition. The United States has called on Beijing to deal directly with the Taiwan government and not with more compliant opposition leaders who don’t have electoral credibility.
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