After Chiang Kai-shek retreated with his Kuomintang forces to Taiwan in 1949, he kept two institutions to symbolise the island's links with the mainland - the provincial government of Taiwan and the National Assembly.
Prior to its abolition in 1998, the provincial government, as its name suggests, was a clear manifestation of the KMT's contention that the island is a province of China. The National Assembly, with members purporting to represent all Chinese provinces, also buttressed the party's claim to be the sole legitimate government of all China, even though it had lost control of the country except Taiwan.
Soon, the assembly, which has powers to amend the constitution, will also become history. On Monday, the KMT and the Democratic Progressive Party reached an agreement to abolish it, just as they had done to the provincial government.
The KMT's change of heart over the two bodies showed how it has back-tracked from its 'one China' stance under the leadership of President Lee Teng-hui, who was party chairman from 1988 until he was forced to step down last week.
The abolitions, nominally undertaken for administrative reasons, were actually joint bids by the KMT and the DPP to hit former KMT secretary-general James Soong Chu-yu, who led the party's remnant 'one China' faction. Mr Soong was provincial governor when the decision to abolish his office was made. This week's decision to abolish the National Assembly followed Mr Soong's stunning performance at the election, and was aimed at scuttling his plan to mobilise supporters to seek control of the assembly in elections scheduled for May.
With the provincial government and National Assembly fading into history, Taiwan's symbolic links with the mainland are fading. That is clearly not a desirable development for Beijing, which sees Taiwan as an inalienable part of China.