China Mobile, the world's largest mobile carrier, is in talks with Taiwan's three major mobile phone network operators to cooperate on roaming services, chairman Wang Jianzhou said on Monday.

Wang said talks had been held with Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan mobile and Far EasTone Telecommunications about potential cooperative arrangements.

I think we will work closer with Taiwan mobile phone operators to improve the mobile phone communication services across the strait, said Wang, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of China's parliamentary meetings.

Wang added the firm also hopes to cooperate with Taiwan phone makers to develop mobile devices.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since 1949, when the Communists won the Chinese civil war and the Nationalists fled to the island. Beijing has vowed to bring Taiwan under its rule, by force if necessary, but ties have been improving since Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou took office last year.

Zhang Chunjiang, the deputy general manager of China Mobile Group, told reporters the company's volume of calls has declined since the last quarter of 2008 due to the financial crisis.

Zhang said China Mobile will work with foreign companies including Nokia to produce third generation (3G) mobile phones. It has said it plans to spend 58.8 billion yuan ($8.6 billion) this year on its 3G network, which will cover about 300 Chinese cities by the end of 2009.

Of course, the impact we have from the financial crisis is becoming more and more obvious as the volume of calls and usage of other mobile phone services already started to fall since the fourth quarter, and the trend will continue, said Zhang.

($=6.84 yuan)