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China, Taiwan to hold historic first formal meeting since 1949

Published on Jan 27, 2014 7:48 PM
The Great Hall of the People, where the Chinese Communist Party plenum is held, is seen behind red flags in Tiananmen square in Beijing on November 12, 2013. Next month, China and Taiwan will hold their first formal meeting since 1949. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

HONG KONG - In a move hailed as a historic milestone for cross-strait ties, China and Taiwan officials will be shedding their so-called "white gloves" when they shake hands next month.

Both sides are meeting formally on a government-to-government basis - the first such meeting since a civil war split China, and the Kuomintang (KMT) fled to Taiwan in 1949 where it set up its own government.

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

Now, in a bid to improve ties, this will change.

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