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Taiwan and China sign historic deal on travel

Latest update : 2008-06-13

On the second day of historic talks in Beijing, Taiwan and China agreed to open direct flights between the two traditional rivals from July. Trade and travel links between the two were all but severed in the wake of the civil war that ended in 1949.

Taiwan and China decided Friday to introduce regular flights between the two nations. They will also allow more Chinese tourists to visit the island nation of Taiwan. These agreements came about on the second day of direct talks between the nations, symbolising important steps towards normalising relations.

 

After the historic meeting that took place at the end of May between Chinese president Hu Jintao and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-Jeou, the two nations decided to strengthen economic and commercial ties.

 

Direct flights between Taiwan and mainland China will operate every weekend, as of July 4. There has been no direct air travel between the two nations for nearly 60 years, with the exception of special national festivals.

 

On Thursday, negotiators had already agreed on the creation of representative offices on each other's territories.

 

Relations between China and Taiwan have become warmer since Ma's election to the Taiwanese presidency. He has always been openly in favour of opening talks with Communist China, in stark contrast with his predecessor, Cheng Shui-Ban, whose 10-year reign witnessed the suspension of talks between the nations.

 

China has always considered Taiwan as an integral part of China, and has not yet signed a peace treaty. Even now, the nations are treating their renewed relations with kid gloves, not directly speaking of certain delicate matters – such as the hundreds of missiles that Taiwan claims China has pointed its way.

 

Date created : 2008-06-13

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