President Lee Teng-hui declared on Tuesday the end of a more than 40-year state of civil war between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China.

Lee repeatedly called Beijing a "political entity" with de facto control of the mainland, marking the first such admission by a Taiwan leader.By ending the "Period of Mobilization for the Suppression of the Communist Rebellion" Lee opened the way for reunification talks between Taipei and Beijing.

The changes were scheduled to take effect at midnight Tuesday, said Lee, 68, who is Taiwan's first native born president after a line of mainland-born leaders.

Lee's directive follows a set of landmark constitutional amendments passed by the National Assembly last Monday that will give Taiwan a fully democratically elected parliament within two years.