( dpa ) - Taiwan and China will resume joint exploration for oil in the Taiwan Strait as Taiwanese president-elect Ma Ying-jeou hopes to fully open trade with China, the Liberty Times reported Sunday.
The Tai Chao Project - which began in August 2005 but has been halted for several years due to soured ties - will be restarted in May, the newspaper said. Ma takes office the same month.
The project between Taiwan's state-run Chinese Petroleum Corp (CPC) and China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) is to drill for oil along the middle line in the Taiwan Strait.
The companies drilled one test well but the result was not satisfactory and the cooperation soon ended. Now the two sides plan to drill a second test well, the paper quoted CPC Chairman Pan Wen- yen as saying.
Pan led a CPC delegation to China on April 14 to called on CNOOC and two other Chinese petrochemical cooperations to discuss renewing cooperation in drilling for oil in the Taiwan Strait.
According to the contract, CPC and CNOOC should share the cost of the exploration and if crude is found, they will share the profits.
Taiwan and China have been split since 1949 when the Chinese Nationalists lost the Chinese Civil War and fled to Taiwan, setting up a government-in-exile.
Tension began to ease in the late 1980s after late president Chiang Ching-kuo lifted martial law and allowed people-to-people contacts with China.
In the past eight years, Taipei-Beijing ties have been strained by President Chen Shui-bian's pro-independence moves. But after opposition leader Ma Ying-jeou won the March 22 president election, Ma pledged to open air and sea links with China and let Taiwan-China economic integration revitalize Taiwan's sagging economy.