Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

China and Taiwan hold government-to-government talks for first time in 65 years

By Katie Hunt, CNN
updated 10:21 PM EST, Tue February 11, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW Taiwan and China agree to regular communication
  • Nanjing meeting marks the first government-to-government contact since 1949 split
  • Taiwan's top China policymaker Wang Yu-chi will meet counterpart Zhang Zhijun
  • Group says two Taiwan-based reporters have been excluded from covering trip

(CNN) -- Taiwan and China held their highest level talks for more than six decades Tuesday, marking the first government-to-government contact since the pair's acrimonious split in 1949.

Wang Yu-chi of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), which oversees the island's China policy, met with his mainland Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun, of China's Taiwan Affairs Office.

After the meeting, China's state news agency Xinhua said the two sides had agreed to open a regular communication channel.

"We should both be resolute to not let cross-strait relations suffer any more twists and turns, and never let it (the relationship) go backward," Zhang was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

Previous contact between the two sides has been conducted through semi-official foundations or through political parties, not by government ministers acting in their official capacities.

"Being able to sit down and talk today was quite unimaginable in the past," Xinhua quoted Wang as saying.

In a statement, Taiwan's MAC said that Wang had invited Zhang to visit Taiwan to better understand society and popular sentiment.

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said the visit had " extraordinary significance," according to the island's Central News Agency.

On his departure from Taipei, Wang said the visit would not be "easy" and the two sides would not sign any specific agreement.

The meeting took place in Nanjing, which was the seat of government under the Kuomintang or Nationalist party before a civil war with the Chinese Communists forced Nationalist forces to flee to Taiwan in 1949.

New bird flu spreads outside China
Taiwan's place in the global economy

Ever since, the island and mainland China have been governed separately.

The exclusion of two Taiwan reporters from covering the meeting has soured the start of Wang's historic visit, which is expected to last until Friday.

Two journalists from Taiwan's Apple Daily and Radio Free Asia were excluded from a delegation of more than 80 reporters accompanying Wang, according to Freedom House, a press freedom watchdog.

"The Chinese government's refusal to grant access to these journalists reflects two important trends -- the Communist Party's expansion of its tactics for influencing media from Hong Kong to Taiwan, and the government's use of visa denials as a way to punish overseas news outlets for critical coverage," said Sarah Cook, senior research analyst at Freedom House.

Taiwan's Central News Agency said Wang would address protecting the freedom of the press at the meeting.

Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province and has never ruled out the use of force to achieve reunification.

Taiwan also calls itself the Republic of China.

Relations between the two sides have improved since Ma, of the Kuomintang party, came to power in Taiwan's 2008 elections.

CNN's Beijing bureau contributed to this report

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 2:01 PM EDT, Sun April 13, 2014
CNN's Brian Stelter talks with CCTV correspondent Jim Spellman on how the Chinese media has covered MH370's mystery.
China's economy has bested many others in just the past 10 years.
updated 2:02 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
In China, users of the "Life Black Box" website can set up final farewells to their friends in case they suddenly die.
updated 1:32 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
A recent university study claims Chinese micro-blogging activity might not be as vibrant as expected.
updated 6:14 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
Chinese art has been fetching some serious cash -- here's how we can elbow into the market
updated 10:51 PM EDT, Wed April 9, 2014
A Shanghainese collector paid $36 million for this tiny cup decorated with chickens.
updated 2:57 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
Ben Richardson on corruption in China: a veil of secrecy shrouds the links between power and wealth.
China's economy is slowing and growth in 2014 could fall short of the government's official target, according to a CNNMoney survey of economists.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Tue April 8, 2014
U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is the first foreigner to visit the Chinese aircraft carrier Liaoning.
updated 9:26 PM EDT, Sun April 6, 2014
If the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 caused a rift in China-Malaysia relations, the two countries appear to have put it behind them.
updated 1:17 AM EDT, Fri April 4, 2014
Martin Jacques argues that in the twenty-first century, China will challenge our perception of what it is to be modern.
A new survey of university students in China shows where they most want to work. What are the dream employers for Chinese students?
updated 9:24 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
What are President Xi Jinping's greatest goals as he visits the EU headquarters in Brussels?
Last year, thousands of Chinese tourists flocked to Yellowstone National Park to view the mountains, the buffalo and Old Faithful.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Mon March 31, 2014
A senior Bloomberg News journalist quit his role earlier this month, saying the "mishandling" by his bosses of a story critical of China was behind his departure.
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
"The aim is to let [families of MH370 passengers] express anger while keeping them restrained," says a Chinese official.
updated 9:58 AM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
U.S. President Barack Obama's secret weapon in China? Michelle.
updated 10:53 PM EDT, Wed March 26, 2014
Private schools that employ humanistic pedagogy for young children are becoming popular in China. A look at the factors behind the boom and potential pitfalls.
ADVERTISEMENT