Until 2008, ships and planes were not allowed to travel directly between China and Taiwan.
The Taiwan Strait is an essential shipping route between East Asia and the Middle East.
The Taiwan Strait frequently suffers typhoons: Typhoon Morakot in 2009 was the deadliest to ever hit Taiwan.
The Taiwan Strait has also been known as the Formosa Strait and the “Black Ditch”.
At its narrowest point, the Taiwan Strait is five times the width of the narrowest point of the English Channel.
In 2005, a plan for an underwater tunnel from mainland China to Taiwan was proposed, but has since been dismissed.