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Cross-Strait Relations with Taiwan

China considers Taiwan a province and an inalienable part of China, which has been separated from China since 1949 when the Guomindang (Nationalist Party) government of Jiang Jieshi (Chiang Kei-shek) fled there in the face of defeat by communist forces.

Taiwan still controls one island that appertains to the mainland—Jinmen (Kinmen or Quemoy), which is part of Fujian Province. In Beijing matters dealing with Taiwan are handled by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Central Committee’s Taiwan Work Office and the State Council’s Taiwan Affairs Office. Beijing is adamantly opposed to independence or any quasi-state status for Taiwan and has alternated since the late 1970s between overtures for peaceful reunification and statements of resolution to forcefully reclaim Taiwan if necessary. Beijing has called for resuming cross-strait negotiations, formally ending the state of hostility that has persisted since 1949, and addressing cross-strait problems through timely negotiations.

During the reform period, China and Taiwan began to allow economic and trade exchanges, travel, tourism, and other activities. Several breakthroughs in relations occurred in 2005. The first was the launch of two-way, round-trip, and nonstop charter flights across the Taiwan Strait starting in February 2005. This development was dampened by Taiwan’s reactions to legislation adopted by China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) on March 14, 2005, “for the purpose of opposing and checking Taiwan's secession from China by secessionists in the name of "Taiwan independence.”

However, soon thereafter, further developments occurred that Beijing found more favorable to Taiwan reunification. These occurred when the leaders of three Taiwan political parties made separate trips to China between March and May 2005. First, Kuomintang Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-kung led a delegation to China to initiate talks on cross-strait economics and trade. Then the chairman of the Kuomintang, Lien Chan, made a “journey of peace” visit and signed a joint communiqué with CCP General Secretary Hu Jintao concerning the promotion of cross-strait exchanges and cooperation. Finally, James Soong, chairman of the People First Party, visited China. All three trips were strictly party-to-party meetings. These visits to the mainland were followed by a delegation of the New Party led by its chairman, Mok Mu-ming in July 2005.

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