All eyes on Nanjing as historic China-Taiwan talks kick off

The first government-to-government meeting between Beijing and Taipei in six decades is due to kick off on Tuesday afternoon in Nanjing, the historic city which served as the Chinese capital in the 1920s when Taiwan's Nationalist party ruled most of
The first government-to-government meeting between Beijing and Taipei in six decades is due to kick off on Tuesday afternoon in Nanjing, the historic city which served as the Chinese capital in the 1920s when Taiwan's Nationalist party ruled most of the mainland. Hundreds of journalists from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore are camped out at the venue for the talks, which is nestled amid the Zhongshan Scenic Area. -- ST PHOTO: LI XUEYING
The first government-to-government meeting between Beijing and Taipei in six decades is due to kick off on Tuesday afternoon in Nanjing, the historic city which served as the Chinese capital in the 1920s when Taiwan's Nationalist party ruled most of
The first government-to-government meeting between Beijing and Taipei in six decades is due to kick off on Tuesday afternoon in Nanjing, the historic city which served as the Chinese capital in the 1920s when Taiwan's Nationalist party ruled most of the mainland. Hundreds of journalists from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore are preparing in the conference room at the Nanjing Purple Palace Hotel where the talks will be held. -- ST PHOTO: LI XUEYING

The first government-to-government meeting between Beijing and Taipei in six decades is due to kick off this afternoon in this historic city, which served as the Chinese capital in the 1920s when Taiwan's Nationalist party ruled most of the mainland.

Mr Wang Yu-chi, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, and Mr Zhang Zhijun, head of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, are scheduled to give opening remarks at 2pm before entering closed-door talks at the Nanjing Purple Palace Hotel.

Hundreds of journalists from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore are camped out at the venue for the talks, which is nestled amid the Zhongshan Scenic Area.

Analysts have hailed the meeting as a milestone in cross-strait ties. China and Taiwan split at the end of a civil war in 1949.

Beijing is hoping the talks would kick-start the process of political dialogue, with an eye on the eventual goal of reunification. But Taipei is keeping its objectives specific.

It wants Beijing's blessing for Taiwan to partake in multi-lateral trade pacts - such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership - currently being negotiated.

Word is that China is willing to yield on this, so long as the remit for negotiations is confined to the trade sphere.

The two sides will also try to find agreement on the mutual establishment of representative offices across the Taiwan Strait. The obstacle is the issue of visitation rights for Taiwanese suspects jailed on the mainland.

Another item on the agenda is whether officials from both sides can help pave the way for a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou at the Apec Leaders Summit in Beijing in November.

xueying@sph.com.sg

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