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Beijing: Taiwan talks may resume soon
Talks with Taibei could take place once the island's leader-elect, Mr Ma Ying-jeou, takes office next month, a spokesman for the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office said in Beijing.
When asked at a press conference whether conditions would be right after May 20, the day Ma takes office, for talks, Spokesman Li Weiyi said: "Everyone can make their own judgment about that."
Last weekend, President Hu Jintao held a meeting with Ma's deputy Vincent Siew on the sidelines of the Boao Forum for Asia, in southern China's Hainan island, at which both sides said they wanted to start talks as soon as possible.
Hu told Siew that economic and trade exchanges and cooperation between the mainland and Taiwan were facing a historic opportunity and needed a joint effort. Siew said Monday that the two had agreed to restart official dialogue.
Beijing and Taipei started semi-official negotiations in April 1993, but the talks broke down in July 1999, when former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui put forward the so-called "two states theory" that defined cross-Straits ties as a state-to-state relationship.
Efforts to restart the talks stalled as the pro-independence ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which came to power in 2000, rejected the one-China principle as a pre-condition.
Ma said he wants to open regular direct flights to the mainland, loosen controls on mainland tourists visiting Taiwan and open the island to mainland investment.
Li expressed optimism on these points.
"I believe , cross-Straits charter flights and direct flights will certainly happen as early as possible," he said.
He said the mainland is glad to see Taiwan athletes and cheer-leaders come to the Olympics in Beijing on chartered flights and provides assistance.
"We really hope mainland companies can invest in Taiwan," he added.
The Ministry of Justice also announced at the news conference that Taiwan residents can now sit for the judicial exam of the mainland.
Ding Lu, director of the national judicial examination center under the ministry, said all Taiwan residents who meet the conditions will be allowed to sit the exam, and if they pass will receive a certificate.