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china and taiwan summit


China and Taiwan have held historic talks in Singapore – their first in more than 60 years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s President Ma Ying-jeou shook hands at the start of the talks, which were seen as largely symbolic.

China views Taiwan as a breakaway province which will one day be reunited with the mainland.

However, many Taiwanese see it as independent and are concerned at China’s growing influence.

“Both sides should respect each other’s values and way of life,” Ma Ying-jeou said as the talks began at a luxury hotel.

Xi Jinping told the Taiwanese leader: “We are one family.”China and Taiwan talks in Singapore

“The meeting between the leaders across the Taiwan Strait has opened a historic chapter in the cross-Strait relations, and history will remember today,” he added.

The meeting took place in neutral territory on the sidelines of a state visit by Xi Jinping to Singapore.

Relations between China and Taiwan have improved under Ma Ying-jeou since he took office in 2008, with better economic ties, improving tourism links, and a trade pact signed.

The two sides split in 1949 when the Kuomintang lost to the Chinese Communist Party in the civil war and set up a new government in Taiwan.

Ma Ying-jeou described the talks as “positive and friendly”, but no major agreements or deals appear to have been reached.

He said in advance that the issue of the South China Sea disputes, which has dominated recent concerns in the region, would not be brought up.

Xi Jinping raised the issue in a speech at the National University of Singapore before the meeting, saying China has always hoped to settle the disputes peacefully.

Ma Ying-jeou proposed reducing hostility across the Taiwan Strait, expanding exchanges and establishing a cross-strait hotline, according to Taiwan’s central news agency.

He said this was part of consolidating the “1992 consensus” – the agreement under which both sides recognize the principle of “one China” but define it in their own ways.

Similar remarks were made by Xi Jinping, who said upholding the consensus would help “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation”.

In Taipei there were protests before the talks and one group tried to enter the Taiwanese parliament building.

AFP said there were arrests at Taipei’s Songshan airport as Ma Ying-jeou left early on November 7, where opponents of closer ties between Taiwan and China tried to set fire to images of the two leaders.

A small group supporting Ma Ying-jeou also turned up at the airport.

State media in China have heralded the meeting, though Taiwan has had a more divided reaction where opposition parties and activists have called for Ma Ying-jeou to back out.


Taiwan and China will hold a historic summit in Singapore as President Ma Ying-jeou will meet his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, on November 7.

The summit will be the first ever meeting between leaders of the two sides.

Ma Ying-jeou and Xi Jinping said the talks would focus on relations across the Taiwan Straits.

China claims sovereignty over Taiwan and views the island as a breakaway province which will one day be reunited with the mainland.

However, ties have improved since President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008.

The Chinese government threatens to use military force against Taiwan if it ever attempts to gain outright independence.China and Taiwan summit Singapore 2015

Taiwanese spokesman Chen Yi-hsin said President Ma Ying-jeou’s aim was “to promote peace cross the Taiwan Strait and maintain status quo”.

Ma Ying-jeou will hold a news conference on November 5 to explain his decision to hold the talks. More details are also expected from Taiwan’s mainland affairs council on November 4.

China’s official Xinhua news agency said the two sides would “exchange views on promoting the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations”.

In a sign of how politically sensitive the meeting is, the two leaders will address each other as Mr. Xi and Mr. Ma, rather than president, one Chinese government official has said.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest said the US welcomed any steps to reduce tensions and improve relations, but added: “We’ll have to see what actually comes out of the meeting.”

Ties with China have improved under President Ma Ying-jeou, whose Kuomintang (KMT) party is seen as pro-Beijing.

In July 2009, the two leaders exchanged direct messages for the first time in more than 60 years, albeit in their respective party functions, and not as national leaders.

In 2010, China and Taiwan signed a historic trade pact.

However, correspondents say growing fears over China’s influence has led to widespread dissatisfaction in Taiwan.

The KMT party suffered a crushing defeat in local elections in 2015, a result that was widely seen as a rejection of President Ma Ying-jeou’s push for closer ties with China.

Ma Ying-jeou steps down next year having served two terms, and earlier this month the KMT dropped its candidate for January’s presidential election following a series of poor ratings in opinion polls.

Analysts say China is likely to see a meeting between the two leaders as a final chance to press its case for improved ties, in case the KMT loses the election.

China has insisted that countries cannot have official relations with both China and Taiwan, with the result that Taiwan has formal diplomatic ties with only 21 UN member states.

Taiwan also has no seat at the UN, having lost it to China in 1971. Repeated attempts to regain representation at the UN have been blocked.