The leaders of Taiwan and mainland China are to meet on Saturday for the first time since the two sides split in 1949 after a civil war. Following is a chronology of key dates in their relations: - 1949 : Mao Zedong’s communists take power in Beijing after defeating Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang nationalist forces, who flee to Taiwan and form their own government, cutting off contacts with mainland China. - 1950s : The United States deploys a fleet in the Taiwan Strait to protect its ally from possible attack by Communist mainland China. War is narrowly averted on several occasions. - 1971 : Beijing takes over China’s seat at the United Nations, previously held by Taipei. - 1979 : The United States establishes diplomatic relations with mainland China, but also commits itself to defending Taiwan. - 1987 : Taiwan residents are permitted to visit mainland China, leading to a boom in trade. - 1991 : Taiwan lifts emergency rule, unilaterally ending a state of war with mainland China. - 1993 : First direct talks between the two sides are held in Singapore. - 1995 : Beijing suspends high-level talks in protest at a visit by Taiwanese president Lee Teng-hui to the United States. - 1996 : Mainland China tests missiles off Taiwan to deter voters in the island’s first democratic presidential election, which Lee Teng-hui wins by a landslide. - 2001-05 : Trade links between Taiwan and mainland China improve, first by sea and then via air links. - 2000 : KMT loses power for the first time in elections won by Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party. - 2004 : Chen is narrowly re-elected president. - 2005 : Beijing adopts a law which makes secession by Taiwan illegal, at the risk of military action. - 2008 : Taiwan and mainland China resume high-level talks, suspended since 1995, after the KMT’s Ma Ying-jeou is elected president on a Beijing-friendly platform. - 2010 : Taipei and Beijing sign an economic cooperation framework agreement, the most sweeping document yet between the two sides. - 2014 : Beijing and Taipei hold first government-to-government talks since they separated in 1949.