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US pause is Beijing's chance to reset Taiwan ties

China could benefit from extending Taipei diplomatic and trade freedom

| China
Old battle tanks used by the Taiwanese military to deter a Chinese invasion, now on display on the coast of Taiwan's Kinmen island (Photo by Humphrey Hawksley)

At their closest point, the beaches of mainland China and what Beijing regards as its renegade province of Taiwan are less than a couple of kilometers apart. On one side is the expanding Chinese megacity of Xiamen with its high-rise hotels and office blocks -- and on the other, the bucolic Taiwanese-controlled island of Kinmen.

For 68 years, Taiwan's separation from China has been a key focal point in the regional strategic balance that could -- at any time -- involve American military support for a vulnerable government under threat. In that respect, this area has been a gauge for the balance of power in the Asia-Pacific.

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