The People’s Republic of China (the big one) and the Republic of China (the little one) are currently holding the highest-level talks in more than fifty years, and arguably since the China/Taiwan split in 1949. Wang Yu-chi, who heads Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, is chumming it up with Zhang Zhijun, who heads China’s Taiwan Affairs Council, presumably to talk about how, although many things change, council-naming schemes always stay the same.
The talks are taking place in Nanjing, where the Taiwan delegation will visit Sun Yat-sen’s Mausoleum, give a speech at Nanjing University, and meet more CCP bureaucrats than one man ever should. After Nanjing, Wang and Co. will visit Shanghai, where he will meet with more Chinese government reps and take in the sights.
While this may seem like a pretty mundane diplomatic meet-and-greet, these talks have the potential to significantly change China/Taiwan relations, as The Guardian reports:
The island and the mainland have been governed separately ever since, both claiming to be the true government of China and only re-establishing contact in the 1990s through quasi-official organisations.
Tuesday’s meeting is the fruit of years of efforts to improve relations. But Beijing’s communist authorities still aim to reunite all of China under their rule and view Taiwan as a rebel region awaiting reunification with the mainland, by force if necessary. […]
Taiwan is likely to focus on reaping practical outcomes from the discussions, such as securing economic benefits or security assurances, while China has one eye on long-term integration of the island, analysts say.
Nobody knows what, exactly, will be discussed during the talks, but even if the delegates do nothing other than eat hotpot and snicker at the Chinese Taipei Olympic uniforms, this will still be the most significant diplomatic meeting between the two (countries? states?) things for decades.
[Image via Xinhua]