China and Taiwan have begun their highest-level talks in more than six decades.
Zhang Zhijun , the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, and his Taiwanese counterpart, Wang Yu-Chi , are meeting in China's eastern city of Nanjing.
The two sides are likely to discuss ways to pursue economic reconciliation and Beijing may push for passage of a stalled free trade agreement with Taiwan.
Many expect the meeting could become the basis for a future summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou, possibly around the time of this year's APEC summit in Beijing in October.
China and Taiwan split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949.
China regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has said it will reclaim the island, while Taiwan wants to be seen as an independent country.
The conflict has created a decades-long military standoff between the United States and China, as the U.S. is committed to defending the democracy-based Taipei against communist Beijing.
Ties between China and Taiwan improved radically after Taiwan's pro-Beijing President Ma Ying-jeou was elected in 2008.
Since then, tourists from mainland China have boosted Taiwan's economy.
Taiwanese technology firms have expanded in the mainland, their investments worth billions of dollars.
But there is also speculation that the friendly terms will not last since President Ma and his pro-Beijing policy is deeply unpopular among the Taiwanese people.
Analysts say Ma's Kuomintang party is likely to lose local elections slated for later in the year.
Kim Ji-yeon, Arirang News.
johnfelix1 (USA) 2014-02-12 02:16:17 KST
I would disagree. Lien Chan, the KMT's senior leader and party chair (of Taiwan) met PRC President Hu Jintao in 2005. (cited from page 155-156, 'Why Taiwan Matters', a book by Shelley Rigger, a PhD. from Harvard).