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    Jan 28, 2014

    China and Taiwan set for historic meeting


    CHINA and Taiwan officials have set a date for talks next month, the United Daily News reported yesterday, paving the way for the first official government-to-government meetings since a civil war six decades ago.

    The head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, Mr Wang Yu-chi, will meet the head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, Mr Zhang Zhijun, on Feb 16 in the mainland city of Nanjing, the Taipei-based newspaper reported, citing an unidentified person.

    Nanjing was China's capital before the civil war forced Chiang Kai-shek's Kuomintang Party to flee to Taiwan in 1949, ceding power to Mao Zedong's communists.

    Contact resumed in the early 1990s, but sheathed in the form of non-governmental organisations to avoid any official recognition of each other.

    "The meeting is a considerable breakthrough because this is the first time that two government officials are going to meet in their formal capacities, representing a certain level of mutual recognition," said Professor Joseph Cheng, a political-science professor at the City University of Hong Kong.

    President Ma Ying-jeou, speaking on an official visit to Honduras, said the meeting is an "inevitable" step in cross-strait relations, the Central News Agency reported on Sunday.