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China-Taiwan media relations warm

Phoenix Satellite reapplies to broadcast

BEIJING – Warmer relations between long-time rivals China and self-ruled Taiwan are translating into movement on the media scene too. Phoenix Satellite, a China-focused broadcaster run by former Chinese People’s Liberation Army colonel Liu Chengle, has reapplied to broadcast in Taiwan, seven years after being rejected.

Shenzhen-based Phoenix, which has a listing in Hong Kong, is one of the few non-government owned media companies allowed to broadcast in China.

It reportedly made its submission in June.

The move comes soon after Taiwan agreed to allow reporters from China’s official Xinhua news agency and the People’s Daily newspaper back into Taiwan. They had been expelled from the island in 2005 after simmering tensions between the two sides boiled over into a real war of words.

China considers self-ruled Taiwan a “rogue province” and inviolably its territory since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, which the Communists won. The losing nationalist Kuomintang fled to Taiwan but the Communists repeatedly pledge to bring the island under its rule, by invasion if necessary. The US has promised to back Taiwan in the event of use of force by China.

Phoenix applied for landing rights in Taiwan in 2001, but was rejected under the administration of former President Chen Shui-bian, whose pro-independence leanings meant he was despised by Beijing. Since the election this year of China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou, relations have improved.

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