Cabinet officials from longtime rivals China and Taiwan have spoken for the first time using a newly inaugurated hotline.

The link that went into service Wednesday represents an upgrade in contact between the sides by connecting the heads of the two Cabinet-level agencies responsible for their relations. An existing hotline connects the semi-official organizations that negotiate agreements in the absence of formal ties.

The new hotline was among the few takeaways from a historic November summit in Singapore between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart, Ma Ying-jeou. It marked the first meeting between leaders of the sides since they split amid civil war in 1949.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said the hotline would ease communication on important issues and help enhance mutual trust and understanding.