Beijing has renewed its appeal for cross-strait air links with Taiwan, Xinhua says. The move came as mainland officials indicated they would put pressure on Taipei to make political concessions if Taiwan wanted to join the WTO. Beijing sources said mainland officials would 'squeeze' Taipei authorities to established direct links in aviation, telecommunications and shipping. WTO accession rules say any member can demand a bilateral trade accord with any would-be member. Taipei officials have indicated they want to keep such restrictions despite the imminent WTO accession for both the mainland and Taiwan. 'The mainland is preparing to open direct air services across the Taiwan Strait,' Xinhua quoted Shen Yuankang, deputy director of the Civil Aviation Administration of China, as telling a Shanghai seminar on cross-strait flights. 'The establishment of direct air links across the strait is the trend of the times and an aspiration of the people, and the relevant conditions are now available.' Mr Shen urged Taipei to 'take specific steps' to speed up the process.