China, Taiwan to hold historic talks

2014-02-11 07:55

(Shutterstock)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Nanjing - China and Taiwan will on Tuesday hold their first government-to-government talks since they split 65 years ago after a brutal civil war - a symbolic yet historic move between the former bitter rivals.

Taipei's Wang Yu-chi, who oversees the island's China policy, arrived in Nanjing for a meeting with his Beijing counterpart Zhang Zhijun on the first day of a four-day trip, a Taiwanese official said.

The eastern Chinese city was the country's capital when it was ruled by Wang's Kuomintang, or Nationalist, party in the first half of the 20th century.

When they lost China's civil war - which cost millions of lives - to Mao Zedong's communists in 1949, two million supporters of the Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan, officially known as the Republic of China.

The island and the mainland have been governed separately ever since, both claiming to be the true government of China and only re-establishing contact in the 1990s through quasi-official organisations.

Reunite all of China

Tuesday's meeting is the fruit of years of efforts to improve relations.

But Beijing's communist authorities still aim to reunite all of China under their rule, and view Taiwan as a rebel region awaiting reunification with the mainland, by force if necessary.

Over the decades Taipei has become increasingly isolated diplomatically, losing the Chinese seat at the UN in 1971 and seeing the number of countries recognising it steadily whittled away, but it is supplied militarily by the United States and has enjoyed a long economic boom.

While no official agenda has been released for the talks - widely seen as a symbolic, confidence-building exercise - Taiwan's Wang last month said they had "crucial implications for further institutionalisation of ties between the two sides".

Taiwan is likely to focus on reaping practical outcomes from the discussions, such as securing economic benefits or security assurances, while China has one eye on long-term integration of the island, analysts say.

Economic reconciliation

The political thaw comes after the two sides made cautious steps towards economic reconciliation in recent years.

As the heirs of a pan-Chinese government, Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang party accepts the "One China" principle and is opposed to seeking independence for the island.

Since it returned to power on the island in elections in 2008, President Ma Ying-jeou has overseen a marked softening in tone from Taipei towards its giant neighbour, restoring direct flights between the two sides and other measures.

In June 2010, Taiwan and China signed the landmark Economic Co-operation Framework Agreement, a pact widely characterised as the boldest step yet towards reconciliation.

Yet despite the much-touted detente, Taipei and Beijing have still shunned all official contact, and negotiations have been carried out through proxies.

While these bodies - the quasi-official Straits Exchange Foundation representing Taiwan and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits for China - have achieved economic progress, they lack the power to broach deeper-held differences.

Analysts say that only government-level officials can address the lingering sovereignty dispute that sees each side claiming to be the sole legitimate government of China.

Don't expect too much

Tuesday's meeting will be watched closely to see whether it could pave the way for talks between Ma and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping - although chances of that happening any time soon are slim.

"The current interaction across the Taiwan Strait is quite positive," said Jia Qingguo, a professor of international studies at Peking University.

Ties have "been developing very fast, but the potential of this relationship has not been fully tapped (by) both sides," he said.

"But people should not expect too much out of it. It will take time for the two sides to get really integrated."

Nonetheless the mood surrounding the talks soured in Taiwan after Beijing refused to issue credentials to the Taipei-based Apple Daily and the US government-funded Radio Free Asia at the weekend.

Taiwan said on Monday it would raise the issue of press freedom with China during the talks.

Read more on:    china  |  taiwan
NEXT ON NEWS24X

SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Fashion
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Monday Bellville - 06:33 AM
    Road name: N1 Inbound
    DELAYS between Plattekloof Road and the Durban Road exit
  • Monday Cape Town - 06:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Inbound
    DELAYS between the N7 Highway and the Jan Smuts Drive exit
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2 TV Series for R250

Get 2 TV Series box sets for R250 and save up to R148! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on beauty & fragrances

Save up to 30% off beauty and fragrances. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 50% off hair care products!

Save up to 50% on professional hair care products at kalahari.com. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

30% off academic books

Score a mind blowing 30% off academic books! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing deals on electronics!

Save up to 35% on electronics. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Ace

A sleek combination of technology and sophisticated design, the Samsung...

From R1695.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is a strong emphasis on relationships. Obsession, emotional disputes, retaliation or competitive actions are highlighted....read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.