China-Taiwan forum at risk after Taipei mayor says not publicly backing "One China" principle

TAIPEI (REUTERS) - An annual forum between the mayors of Shanghai and Taipei might not take place as scheduled this year because the mayor of the Taiwan capital will not publicly endorse Beijing's "One China" principle.

The dispute highlights the deep mistrust between the two sides despite the establishment of the best ever trade ties since Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008.

Taiwan has been holding the annual "Two Cities" forum with China's economic capital since 2010 but this year's visit to Shanghai is under a shadow because Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je has repeatedly refused to recognise "One China".

Ko met the deputy mayor of Shanghai, Weng Tiehui, on Thursday to discuss a possible visit to Shanghai next month but no decision was reached.

"The first thing we'd need to do is to increase mutual trust, or we can't take it any further," Ko told a news briefing after the meeting with Weng.

Ko, an independent, beat a rival from the China-friendly Nationalists in late in 2014 to take office.

Beijing has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when Mao Zedong's forces won the Chinese civil war and Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalists fled to the island, claiming to be the true Chinese government.

Beijing insists that all countries and international organisations recognise it as the "One China".