These gestures emerged on the final day that Taiwanese opposition leader, Lien Chan, visited the mainland. Lien Chan is the first Nationalist leader to make the trip since the party was driven off the Chinese mainland in 1949 by the Communist party following the Chinese civil war.
So what does this all mean? Has China turned over a new leaf? After the Olympics and their involvement in African development, is this just one more act to prove to the international community that they are not all bad? I would love to say yes, but we have to first take a closer look...
Since 1992, China has tried to give pandas to Taiwan ten different times. Thus, this isn't the first time hell has frozen over. So why hasn't Taiwan accepted the diplomatic gift? The Taiwanese are fearful that the gesture is tied to a downgrade of the island's sovereignty. This fear is valid, due to China's extreme opposition to Taiwanese sovereignty.
Perhaps if China wants to prove to the international community that they have in fact turned over a new leaf, acknowledging Taiwan's sovereignty might just be the first step. Although, who wouldn't want a panda, they're so cute and cuddly!