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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Taiwan Opens Moscow Mission

After decades of hostility between Taiwan and Russia, the Asian island opened a representative office in Moscow on Monday in an effort to develop ties here, a Taiwanese representative said.

However, the status of the mission, which is called the Taipei-Moscow Economic and Cultural Coordination Commission, remains unclear.

China has claimed sovereignty over Taiwan since it took power on the mainland in 1949 and has made recognition of its one-China policy a prerequisite for diplomatic relations with Beijing.

Few nations maintain full diplomatic relations with Taiwan, but diplomats said similar representative offices are maintained in a number of Western countries.

Although the mission is technically non-governmental, the office is to handle visas in the future and help to expand trade and civilian exchanges between the two sides, a Russian Foreign Ministry statement said Sunday

The ministry said that Russian representatives would visit Taiwan this month to prepare to establish a mission in Taipei. There are also reportedly plans to seek direct air links.

Reuters reported that trade between Taiwan and the former Soviet republics has been growing rapidly, to $619 million last year from $227 million in 1991

James Lee, acting director of the commercial division of the office, said the two states had been trading since 1990

Lee said he could not give an official comment about the exact activities except that he sees the task of the office should be "to promote bilateral economic and cultural relations "