Earlier this month [November 4], Taiwan and the Peoples' Republic of China took a historic step toward establishing a stable relationship.
During an unprecedented visit Chen Yunlin, the head of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, which is the main negotiation body for the PRC in matters related to Taiwan, and his Taiwanese counterpart, head of the Straits Exchange Foundation Chiang Pin-Kung, signed 4 agreements that could signal the beginning of a new era in relations between the PRC and Taiwan.
The agreements in question deal with economic and food safety issues, putting aside outstanding political and sovereignty issues.
The People's Republic of China and Taiwan have been at odds since 1949, when the Communist Party won the Chinese civil war and some 2 million people fled to Taiwan. Over the years, relations between the 2 sides of the Strait were often characterized by non-contact and animosity. The meeting between the 2 representatives is a significant milestone in the relations between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.
Even more significant are the agreements signed by the 2 representatives. Some make provisions for direct shipping and air cargo links across the Strait of Taiwan, which should lower production costs for industries and encourage closer economic ties. Previously, all flights were routed through Hong Kong air space, while most shipping was indirect.
Both sides agreed to also triple the number of passenger flights across the strait, establish direct cargo flights and to begin direct mail service. Provisions were also made to set up food safety information sharing.
The United States welcomes positive Cross-Strait developments, including the most recent meetings. The U.S., which follows its one-china policy based on the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act, has long called on Taiwan and the People's Republic of China to find constructive paths toward dialogue, and to reduce tensions in the Taiwan Strait.