China Friday applauded last week's Nationalist Party congress in Taiwan for moving to improve ties with the communist mainland but warned further progress is needed to prevent the prolonged split from being "exploited by separatists."

The People's Daily, the Communist Party official newspaper, said in an editorial that China now hoped for "all around opening of both sides of the Taiwan Strait" and repeated Chinese government calls for direct talks with the Nationalists, or Kuomintang, in Taipei.During the Nationalists' weeklong 13th party congress, which concluded Wednesday, the Taiwan government endorsed expanded but still indirect relations with the mainland, freeing some restrictions on travel, trade and investment in China.