Taiwan, China talk economy

Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) shakes hands with Taiwan's Kuomintang chairman Wu Poh-hsiung (L) during a red carpet welcome at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, May 28, 2008

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: The leader of Taiwan's ruling party met with Chinese President Hu Jintao today in Beijing. This doesn't happen often. Taiwan split from the mainland in 1949, and the heads of the ruling parties haven't met since then. Now, they're talking economic cooperation. Lisa Chow reports from Beijing.


Lisa Chow: This latest round of high-level meetings is part of a slow-moving process with big implications. It could eventually mean mainland Chinese would be free to visit Taiwan any time they want.

It could also mean they could fly there, directly. Right now, you have to stop in Hong Kong on every leg when traveling between the mainland and Taiwan.

It's a big nuisance for regular business travelers from the Island. Direct flights would shorten and cheapen the ride for Taiwan investors who have poured billions of dollars in China since the late 1980's.

Chinese leaders have already expressed their support for Taiwan's proposal for direct weekend flights. And Beijing may also agree to expand the number of mainland tourists allowed to travel to the island.

This is all good news for the United States. Warming relations between mainland China and U.S.-allied Taiwan could remove one of Asia's biggest potential flashpoints.

In Beijing, I'm Lisa Chow for Marketplace.

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