China and Taiwan have signed an historic agreement improving trade and transport links. It is hoped the deal will ease the threat of conflict between them.
The sweeping pact allows direct shipping links across the Taiwan Strait for the first time since a bloody civil war in 1949 and the number of direct passenger flights are set to triple. Previously, sovereignty issues have meant costly detours. Flights between China and Taiwan were forced to stop in Hong Kong or Macau.
China still clings to sovereignty over the island of Taiwan despite it being separately governed since the civil war ended.
The thawing of relations follows the election of President Ma Ying Jeou in Taiwan. But fears that he is making too many concessions to mainland China have sparked fierce protests.