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China Says Time is Right to Seek Peace with Taiwan བོད་སྐད།

China says it is ready to hold talks with Taiwan on political and military issues, with an aim toward reaching an eventual peace agreement.

In his speech before the opening session of the National People's Congress Wednesday, Premier Wen Jiabao said relations between Beijing and Taiwan have undergone "major breakthroughs" over the past year.

Relations between the two rivals have considerably improved since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, whose Kuomintang Party seeks closer ties with the mainland, took office last May. China and Taiwan began direct air and shipping services across the Taiwan Strait, ending a decades-old ban on regular links.

The two sides split after the 1949 civil war, after the Nationalist forces fled to the island following their defeat by the Mao Zedong's Communist army.

China has long claimed sovereignty over Taiwan, and has vowed to be reunited with the island -- by force if necessary.

Mr. Wen's remarks echoes those made by President Hu Jintao in December, which marked the 30th anniversary of China's announcement to seek peaceful reunification with the island.