RI welcomes historic China-Taiwan meeting

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RI welcomes historic China-Taiwan meeting

RI welcomes historic China-Taiwan meeting

Lilian Budianto ,  The Jakarta Post ,  Jakarta   |  Sat, 11/08/2008 11:49 AM  |  World

The historical meeting between a top Chinese envoy and the Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou after 60 years of hostilities will pave the way for greater stability across the whole Asian region, says the Indonesian Foreign Ministry spokesman.

Teuku Faizasyah said Friday that Indonesia was much concerned about the long-running tensions between the two countries, and expressed its enthusiasm over the political landmark aimed at pursuing closer economic cooperation.

"The meeting signifies an advantage that stretches as far as Indonesia," he said.

"The cross-strait tensions are to the detriment of every nation and therefore we very much await better stability in the future following the meeting."

Because of Indonesia's strong "One China" policy, Taiwan has only the Taipei Economic and Trade Office in Indonesia to look after its trade and investment interests here.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province, while the latter claims itself a sovereign state.

AFP reports the meeting between Beijing's top envoy Chen Yunlin and President Ma in Taiwan ended Friday as local politicians traded barbs over sometimes violent protests that marred the talks.

The result of the envoy's five-day trip was a trade agreement that drastically boosts transport ties between the rivals.

The two sides also agreed to hold high-level meetings every six months. They said the next round will focus on banking issues -- an urgent topic in the wake of the global financial meltdown.

Chen is the most senior official to visit the island since it split from China at the end of a civil war in 1949, with angry protests following his visit at every turn.

More than 60 police officers were injured in overnight clashes in Taipei, the National Police Agency said, while local media reported more than 50 protesters and journalists were also hurt.

The ruling Kuomintang and the pro-independence opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), which organized the demonstration, traded barbs over the unexpected violence -- the worst protest clashes in 10 years.

DPP parliamentarian Lai Ching-teh claimed the party had abided by their promise of staging a peaceful protest and taken the crowd away from the presidential office plaza on Thursday.

"Those who used violence were sent by the Kuomintang," Lai told reporters.

But the accusation was flatly rejected by the Kuomintang.

"Since DPP chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen led her supporters to the street, she has to take full responsibility for the violence," the KMT said in a statement.

A survey of around 800 people carried out by Taipei's Apple Daily found nearly a third thought the DPP were to blame for the violence. A quarter pointed the finger at President Ma of the China-friendly Kuomintang, saying he had failed to safeguard the island's sovereignty.

On Thursday some 2,200 riot police backed by water cannon were dispatched to Taipei's Grand Hotel where Chen was staying as around 1,000 people staged rowdy and at times violent protests, police said.

Some threw eggs, rocks, bottled water and petrol bombs at police in an attempt to get past barbed wire barricades.

At a press conference shortly before his departure, Chen, his eyes red, appeared close to tears as he thanked Taiwanese security officials.

"I would like to express our thanks to the police," he told reporters.

"They made many sacrifices and shed blood during the tense protests. Words cannot describe our appreciation," Chen said, bowing briefly.

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