China, Taiwan Hold 'Landmark' Talks, 1st Since '49

Agree to open official liaison offices
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 11, 2014 8:05 AM CST
China, Taiwan Hold 'Landmark' Talks, 1st Since '49
Wang Yu-chi, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, left, shakes hands with Zhang Zhijun, director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, right, in Nanjing, China, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.   (AP Photo)

Today's a big day for China and Taiwan: They held their first talks since 1949, when the People's Republic of China was formed after a civil war. Since then, they've been perpetually frosty; China has continued to consider Taiwan its territory (albeit a renegade one), and has threatened force if Taiwan declares independence. But today the head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council met with the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, and they agreed to set up representative offices for both organizations, Reuters reports. The official liaison offices will exist on one another's territory.

A formal peace treaty and other sensitive issues such as decreasing military readiness were not discussed, but Reuters calls the talks "historic" and Chinese media call them "landmark." Taiwan's Wang Yu-chi said the talks, which occurred in China, were "unimaginable ... in earlier years." According to Time, relations between China and Taiwan are "the best they've ever been," thanks to former Chinese President Hu Jintao's less aggressive approach, plus the desire of Taiwan's current president to improve ties. Trade and economic ties have been particularly strong of late. (Read more China stories.)

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