The first official hotline between Beijing and Taipei went into operation earlier today in a move to calm cross straits tensions.
The director of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, Zhang Zhijun, and the head of Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council, Andrew Hsia, placed the first call on the line to share New Year’s greetings.
Zhang and Hsia also talked about the important achievements both sides had made in the past year in promoting the peaceful development of relations, spokesman Ma said.
According to Reuters, the hotline was a measure agreed upon between the two parties following the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou.
The meeting was the first time leaders from across the straits had met since members of the Chinese Nationalist Party fled to the island of Taiwan at the end of its civil war with the Chinese Communist Party in 1949.
It has been suggested that Beijing has been trying to strengthen cross-strait trade in order to draw Taiwan economically closer to the mainland, leading to an eventual political union.
Most Taiwanese are in favor of maintaining the status quo and have resisted recent moves towards further economic integration. Last year’s protests in Taipei, dubbed the “Sunflower Movement,” were organized in response to proposed trade agreements with mainland China.
General elections in Taiwan are scheduled to take place on January 16. Recent opinion polls suggest that Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party, which takes a pro-independence stance, is likely to oust the incumbent Kuomingtang.