China, Taiwan Leaders Meet For First Time In Singapore After 66 Years

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SINGAPORE, Nov 7 – Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou made a historically significant meeting in Singapore on Saturday, paving the way for future cross-straits ties. The talks between Xi and Ma was the first between leaders of China and Taiwan since China’s civil war ended in 1949.

Both men shook hands and smiled in front of a group of journalists, Xi wearing a red tie, the colour of the Communist Party, and Ma in blue, the colour of his Nationalist Party. Both delivered their remarks before entering into a closed-door meeting. Xi, who spoke first, described cross-strait ties as “thicker than blood”, and said the “tragedy” of the past should not repeat itself.

In his remarks, Ma said the meeting, the first in 66 years, was historically significant because it has a big impact on the future of cross-strait ties. During the 1993 Koo-Wang talks in Singapore between the envoys of the two sides, Ma said they inked four agreements and set the foundation for institutionalising cross-strait negotiations.

The fact that he was sitting in the same room as Xi today was the result of efforts by the two sides to replace confrontation with dialogue and reconciliation. At this moment, the leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are declaring to the world our resolve and determination to strengthen cross-strait peace and stability in the region.

Earlier in a statement, Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said Singapore has been requested by both sides to facilitate a meeting between Xi and Ma. As a close and longstanding friend of both mainland China and Taiwan, he said they are happy to facilitate and be the venue for their direct dialogue.

“Singapore has consistently upheld a ‘One China’ policy and supported initiatives that contribute to the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, including direct exchanges between the two sides such as the historic Wang-Koo talks held in Singapore in 1993,” the spokesman said.

Meanwhile, the meeting between the two leaders was separate from the State Visit by President Xi on Friday and Saturday in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Singapore and the People’s Republic of China.

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