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China-Taiwan Top Leaders Met First Time in 66 Years
Nov 10, 2015

The leaders of China and Taiwan met for the first time on 7 November since their civil war almost seven decades ago. This is a major breakthrough in cross-strait relations. The meeting was by and large a symbolic as new deals were signed.

The meeting might help Communist Party leaders in Beijing secure gains that have seen the mainland become Taiwan's biggest trading partner. Top leaders from the two camps hadn't met since Mao Zedong and then-KMT leader Chiang Kai-shek raised their glasses to toast the defeat of the Japanese in 1945 before resuming their civil war. Four years later, Chiang fled to Taiwan, beginning 66 years of separate rule marked by occasional flare-ups and no formal peace deal.

Since envoys from the Communist Party and KMT first met in Singapore in 1993, the two sides have engaged in a series of increasingly high-level exchanges under the principle that they're both part of "one China." 

  • Under the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979, the US is bound by law to safeguard peace and security in the Taiwan Strait.

  • Ma is the former head of the Kuomintang (KMT) party, and has been a key driver in forging closer ties with Beijing since he came to power in a 2008

Top leaders of the two territories discussed the status of their amorphous relationship based on what is known as the "1992 Consensus", a tacit understanding reached that year at a meeting between semi-official representatives that acknowledges that there is only one China—although the mainland and Taiwan can have their own interpretation of what that stands for.

In the meeting, Taiwan emphasized its stance on the importance of maintaining the status quo in this relationship as most Taiwanese are neither for independent rule from China nor for reunification.


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