Taiwan says it will allow a private aviation group to discuss opening direct cross-strait passenger and cargo services with China.

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council says the Taipei Airlines Association has been authorized to negotiate with China on the issue.

Direct air and sea links were cut in 1949 after China and Taiwan split during a civil war.  Current cross-strait air and sea routes must pass through a third point, such as Hong Kong or Macau.

China considers Taiwan a renegade province and has threatened to take the island by force if it makes moves toward independence.

Some information for this report provided by AP, AFP.