WASHINGTON — The White House on Monday welcomed China’s offer of talks with Taiwan, calling it a step in the right direction for renewed dialogue between Beijing and the self-ruled island that China claims as its own. Chinese President Hu Jintao, in an address to the opening of the Communist Party’s 17th Congress, offered to enter into negotiations with Taiwan to reach a peace agreement.
He also warned Taiwan against formally declaring independence, but did not threaten force in response to such a move, as predecessors have in the past.
“The United States notes the moderate tone of President Hu’s statement made today on the issue of cross-Taiwan Strait relations,” White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said. “We believe that President Hu’s remarks were a step in the right direction on seeking to reinvigorate a cross-strait dialogue.” “As to President Hu’s specific proposals, it is up to the people on both sides of the strait to decide the terms and conditions under which exchanges, dialogue, and consultations occur,” he added.