The Taiwanese business community's call for Beijing to renew top level talks with Taipei deserves to be listened to by political leaders in both cities. As Kao Ching-yuan, vice-chairman of Taiwan's President Enterprises, told Beijing officials yesterday, political frictions increase the risk of doing business in China and damage confidence on both sides. Not the least of his concerns must be the threat that if China renews military exercises and attempts to intimidate Taipei, Taiwan may bring in new rules to reduce economic dependency on the mainland. These could be more damaging than the lack of direct mail, trade and transport links which Chinese leaders take such delight in attacking. The opportunities for real co-operation and progress are limited unless serious negotiations can be resumed at the highest level. It is all very well for China to fete Taiwanese businessmen like Mr Kao; but unless it is prepared to talk directly to Taipei, the wooing of the business community will be regarded by Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui as a deliberate attempt to divide and weaken his support base. The two sides have much to discuss. Among the urgent issues still to be addressed is the relationship between Hong Kong and Taiwan next year. Legislators Frederick Fung Kin-kee and Albert Ho Chun-yan both expressed their concern this week that Taiwan should not push ahead with its Hong Kong and Macau Relations Act before the Preparatory Committee and Beijing had discussed such questions as Taiwan's representation here after 1997 and the issuing of visas. If Taipei forced the issue and pushed ahead with the bill early next year as currently planned, Beijing's response might be less flexible than if the Bill were not passed until the summer. The sooner Beijing and Taipei can begin talking again as they did before relations deteriorated last year, the better for everyone doing business with either.