Relations between Chinese mainland and Taiwan have experienced ups and downs since both sides split up with each other in 1949 when Kuomintang (KMT) forces, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan after a civil war.
Ties have since improved when Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008, with a number of landmark business and tourism deals signed between the two sides.
Here is a quick look at the cross-strait ties over the past six decades.
– 1949: The Communist Party of China took power in the mainland and the Kuomintang forces fled to Taiwan and formed their own government on the island, cutting off contacts with the mainland.
– The two sides had military conflicts and sharp political confrontations until the late 1980s, when they began to reset their relationship.
– 1987: Taiwan residents were permitted to visit their mainland families.
In the 1990s
– 1991: Taiwan lifts emergency rule, unilaterally ending a state of war with Chinese mainland
– 1992: Both sides reached the 1992 Consensus which endorses the one-China principle
– 1993: First direct talks between the two sides are held in Singapore. The two sides inked 23 agreements through consultations, solving a range of issues that are closely related to the interests of the people on both sides.
– 1999: Then Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui advocated “two-state theory” which basically means China’s mainland and Taiwan are two countries. That caused tensions between both sides.
In the 21st century
– 2001-2005: Trade links between Taiwan and the mainland improved, first by sea and then via air.
– 2005: Beijing adopts a law which makes secession by Taiwan illegal, at the risk of military action.
– 2008: Both sides resume high-level talks, suspended since 1995.
– 2010: Beijing and Taipei sign an economic cooperation framework agreement, the most sweeping document yet between the two sides.
– 2014: Beijing and Taipei hold first government-to-government talks since they separated in 1949.
– Leaders from both sides have held talks on several occasions since 2005.
Dr. Liu Youfa is a current affairs commentator and vice president of the China Institute of International Studies. He joined us to discuss the historic handshake.