Officials from China and Taiwan on Tuesday held their first official-level talks since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949, underlining the warming of ties across the Taiwan Straits.

Officials met in the southern Chinese city of Nanjing on Tuesday, as Wang Yu-chi, head of Taiwan’s mainland affairs office, met with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun.

The talks are seen as an attempt at building cross-Strait relations and paving the way for wider exchanges.

Ties between China and Taiwan have warmed following the election of Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou in 2008. Mr. Ma of the Kuomintang (KMT) party stood on a platform of boosting economic relations, and won re-election in 2012, two years after signing a landmark Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) with the mainland.

Ties had largely been frozen since 1949, when the KMT under Chiang Kai-shek and his supporters fled to the island after losing to the Communists in the Chinese civil war.

China regards Taiwan as part of its territory, although both have been effectively governed separately since 1949. Taiwan is still officially known as the Republic of China.

Previous contact between both countries, including negotiation of the ECFA, was carried out through non-official bodies, keeping in mind mutual sensitivities over sovereignty.

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