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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Tension Over Taiwan Appears to Ease

TAIPEI -- Taiwan called Tuesday for talks with China on trade and reunification, but Beijing demanded that the island show sincerity by giving up its quest for a UN seat and political ties with other countries.

Adding to indications military tensions were easing after the end of Chinese war games, the U.S. Navy announced the withdrawal of one of two aircraft carriers sent to patrol near Taiwan in a warning to Beijing.

But China and Taiwan's rival Nationalist government showed no progress in resolving their conflict over the island's attempt to raise its international profile.

China on Monday ended 18 days of war games, and Taiwan made a qualified offer to grant Chinese demands for direct trade and phone links.

Premier Lien Chan said Taiwan is ready to restart talks on trade, economic cooperation and eventual reunification. But he didn't offer any compromise on Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui's campaign for more diplomatic recognition of his isolated government.

"I sincerely urge the Chinese Communists to give up the erroneous thinking that they could resolve problems with us by military means, and usher in benign, mutually beneficial relations," Lien told parliament on Tuesday.

The Nationalists banned direct contact with China in 1949, when they lost the mainland to the Communists.

China's government contends Lee has given up on the shared goal of reunification, and says it will use force against Taiwan if it declares independence.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang said China has offered to speed up creation of direct trade, air and communications links. But he said Taiwan hasn't responded favorably.

Although Shen was quoted over the weekend as saying the "door to negotiations is still open," on Tuesday he blamed Taiwan and its foreign weapons suppliers for closing it.

"The Taiwan authorities must stop their activities to create" an independent country, Shen said at a twice-weekly media briefing.

For the first time in nearly three weeks, shipping in the Taiwan Strait was normal Tuesday, and fishing boats and freighters returned to areas where the war games were held, said a Taiwanese port official, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The Navy announced the USS Independence, one of two aircraft carriers sent to patrol near Taiwan, will return to Japan on Thursday with its battle group, leaving the USS Nimitz to patrol the area.

Taiwan says more Chinese war games may begin soon, but in an inland area that would be less threatening.

China froze talks with Taiwan last July 25 and began staging war games and missile tests after a U.S. trip by Lee that China saw as an attempt to build up Taiwan's international standing before declaring independence.