China and Taiwan began their first formal talks in a decade here Thursday, the latest step in a dramatic rapprochement between the long-time rivals. Delegations from semi-official bodies belonging to the two sides began their dialogue shortly after 9:00 am (0700 PST) at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, which often serves as a venue for high-level diplomacy. The talks were expected to focus on establishing regular direct flights between China and Taiwan for the first time since the two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.