TAIPEI: Leaders of Taiwan and China are to meet Saturday for the first time since the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war.
Following is a chronology of key dates in relations:
– 1949: Mao Zedong’s communists take power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang (KMT) nationalists, who flee to Taiwan and form their own government, cutting off contacts with Mainland China.
– 1950s: The United States deploys a fleet in the Taiwan Strait to protect its ally from possible attack by Communist China. War is narrowly averted on several occasions.
– 1971: Beijing takes over China’s seat at the United Nations, previously held by Taipei.
– 1979: The United States establishes diplomatic relations with China but also commits itself to defending Taiwan.
– 1987: Taiwan residents are permitted to visit China, leading to a boom in trade.
– 1991: Taiwan lifts emergency rule, unilaterally ending a state of war with China.
– 1993: First direct talks between the two sides are held in Singapore.
– 1995: Beijing suspends high-level talks in protest at a visit by Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui to the United States.
– 1996: China tests missiles off Taiwan to deter voters in the island’s first democratic presidential election, which Lee Teng-hui wins in a landslide.
– 2001-05: Trade links between Taiwan and China improve, first by sea and then via air links.
– 2000: KMT loses power for the first time in elections won by Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
– 2004: Chen is narrowly re-elected president.
– 2005: Beijing adopts a law that makes secession by Taiwan illegal, at the risk of military action.
– 2008: Taiwan and China resume high-level talks, suspended since 1995, after the KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou is elected president on a Beijing-friendly platform.
– 2010: Taipei and Beijing 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.