A friendly gesture between China and Taiwan

The leaders of Taiwan and China made history on April 12th by having one of the friendliest meetings between the two governments in almost sixty years! China’s President, Hu Jintao, met Taiwan’s president-elect, Ma Ying-jeou, who will become the president next month.

What could cause a conflict between the two lands that are separated by just a 100mile (160km) wide water body? After World War II, most of China was under the Nationalist government’s control. The Communist government was growing strong, and there was a Civil War in China. The Nationalist party lost control of China, and fled to Taiwan in 1949. There they set up a government. They called themselves the Republic of China (ROC), while the Communist government took over China and called the country the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Thus two different parties claimed to be the “official” government of China. Until 1971, the United Nations, an international peace organization, recognized the ROC as the only Chinese government. Since then, they switched to recognizing PRC as the government of China. Since there is only one country China, and cannot have two different governments, the ROC was forced out of the United Nations. Today there are very few countries (such as Guatemala and El Salvador) that recognize the ROC as the government of China.

Both lands have done very well economically, but their governments are very different. Taiwan is a democracy and China is a communist country. Even though the two governments don’t get along, there is a lot of business that happens between them. Many Taiwanese go and work in China. China is Taiwan’s number one trading partner.

There is certainly one interesting thing that’s common between Taiwan and China – the tallest building in each has exactly the same number of floors – 101! (Left:Shanghai World Financial Center, Right:Taipei-101)