China and Taiwan launch closer links

China and Taiwan launch closer links
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Six decades of sometimes icy relations have thawed, as China and Taiwan celebrate closer ties. At simultaneous ceremonies, at Tianjin in southern China and in Taiwan, direct air and sea links and a postal service resumed for the first time since 1949.

The new links show how quickly things have moved under Taiwan’s new pro-China President Ma Ying-jeou. He was elected in May on a platform of improving links with Taiwan’s giant neighbour. “We are no longer in conflict or confrontation,” said Ma. “The two of us across the straits will work together for peace and prosperity.” Tension has seen the two often on the brink of war; Beijing has vowed in the past to use force to back up its claim of sovereignty over the island. China and Taiwan are just 160 kms apart, but flights have always travelled via a third airport, usually Hong Kong or Macau. Now it is a straight hop. That indirect route was also forced on letters and parcels. The new direct services should cut delivery times dramatically.
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