China, Taiwan Sign Landmark Trade Pact : The Two-Way Beijing hopes the deal moves the two sides closer to unification, while Taiwan gains access to key economic sectors in China.
NPR logo China, Taiwan Sign Landmark Trade Pact

China, Taiwan Sign Landmark Trade Pact

Relations between China and Taiwan have moved generally forward in recent years, despite occasional setbacks. But the long-time rivals signed a trade agreement Tuesday that they both agree is a landmark.

The deal ends tariffs on hundreds of products and gives Taiwan the green light to enter China's banking, accounting, insurance and medical sectors.

As the Associated Press succinctly puts it:

Beijing hopes the deal signed Tuesday can lead to political accommodation. Taiwan is looking for the tighter economic links to keep the island from being economically marginalized as China's global clout grows.

NPR's Anthony Kuhn in Beijing says it's unclear if the pact will genuinely ease cross-Strait political tensions.

Kuhn says while China views greater economic integration with Taiwan as the road to eventual unification, Taiwanese opponents of the pact argue that it makes the island too economically dependent on Beijing.

China and Taiwan split in 1949 as Chinese nationalists retreated to the island and communist forces under Mao Zedong assumed power in Beijing.