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Scheduled airline service begins between China, Taiwan  Dec 15, 2008

It's a small victory for freedom... or, at least, capitalism. On Sunday, a China Southern Airlines B737 touched down at Taipei Songshan Airport in Taiwan, marking the first time a scheduled airline flight has operated between mainland China and the 'renegade province' in nearly 60 years.

The flight from Shenzhen, China landed at around 8:00 pm EST Sunday, with the turnaround departing from the Taipei airport at 8:00 am Monday morning, according to Taiwan's Civil Aeronautics Administration.

CNN reports plans are underway to launch as many as 16 daily flights to or from Taiwan. Sunday's historic flight coincided with similar ceremonies at seaports in both China and Taiwan, and mark a general easing of commercial restrictions between the two governments. Charter flights began in July.

Formally known as the Republic of China, Taiwan cut ties with mainland China in 1949 after Communists seized victory in that country's civil war. Members of the ousted Nationalist party fled to the island of Taiwan, and established a government there.

To this day, the mainland People's Republic of China maintains it has authority over Taiwan, and tensions between the two entities have surged and ebbed constantly since. Communist China considers Taiwan a renegade province, and has threatened military action if Taiwan ever formally declares its independence from the mainland.

Since his election in March 2008, Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou has reached out to Chinese authorities, touting the economic benefits for both sides in less-restrictive trade practices. Ma opposes reunification, however.

Scheduled airline service begins between China, Taiwan
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