Key events in China-Taiwan relations

Compiled by Reuter May 12, 2005

1949 - Chiang Kai-shek's Nationalist troops lose civil war to Mao Zedong's Communist forces on mainland China and set up government-in-exile on Taiwan.

November 1987 - After almost four decades of hostility, Taiwan and China embark on cautious path of rapprochement, starting with family visits.

May 1991 - Taiwan renounces use of force to retake mainland, paving way for unofficial talks.

April 1993 - Taiwan and Chinese negotiators hold landmark meeting in Singapore.

January 1995 - Chinese President Jiang Zemin calls for high-level talks to end state of hostility. Taiwan rejects offer.

June 1995 - Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui makes landmark, private trip to the United States, enraging Beijing which indefinitely puts off semi-official talks and launches months of invective against Lee and war games near island.

October 1998 - Taiwan envoy Koo Chen-fu visits China and meets President Jiang in highest-level contact between two sides in nearly five decades.

July 1999 - Lee Teng-hui enrages China again by unilaterally redefining bilateral ties as "special state to state". Beijing, freezes semi-official talks.

January 2001 - Taiwan opens direct but limited trade and travel links with China.

November 2001 - Taiwan announces it will partially ease decades-old curbs on Chinese visiting the island in a goodwill gesture towards Beijing.

August 2002 - Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian says he backs a referendum on formal independence from Beijing.

Days later China says Chen's backing of a referendum will cause severe damage to cross-Straits relations.

Taiwanese Premier Yu Shyi-kun says Taiwan will not proceed with legislation for a referendum unless Beijing forces its "one country, two systems" formula on it.

January 2003 - The first Taiwan commercial flight to China for more than 50 years arrives in Shanghai.

August 2003 - Taiwan's parliament approves a bill allowing the island to hold referendums on sovereignty and other issues.

December 2003 - Taiwan's parliament passes two resolutions calling on China to remove missiles aimed at the island.

February 2004 - Chen and up to 2 million of his supporters form a human chain down the length of the island in biggest protest against China.

December 2004 - Taiwan's opposition parties, which favour closer ties with China, claim victory in parliamentary elections, beating Chen's pro-independence party.

January 2005 - Taiwan and China launch historic charter flights, with commercial jets flying non-stop between the foes for the first time in 55 years. The flights finish on Feb 20.

March 2005 - China's parliament passes an anti-secession bill authorising the use of force against Taiwan, drawing a warning from Taiwan that Beijing will have to pay a price.

Hundreds of thousands of people chanting "Oppose war, Love Taiwan" join a "democratic carnival" in Taipei to protest against China's military threat.

Beijing hosts Chiang Pin-kung, vice-chairman of the Nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) Taiwan's opposition Nationalist Party, trying to soften the blow of the law sanctioning the use of force.

April 2005 - Taiwan opposition leader Lien Chan visits China on a historic "journey of peace" to China, seeking reconciliation with an old enemy.

May 2005 - Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian invites Hu to visit the island. China rejects the invitation.

China's Hu later makes a fresh offer to open dialogue with Chen, one week after U.S. President George W. Bush had urged Hu by telephone to continue efforts to do so.

Hu and visiting James Soong, chairman of Taiwan's opposition People First Party (PFP) issue a communique that pledges to push for talks to establish a cross-Strait free-trade zone and to start regular direct flights in 2006.


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