Reactions in China

Media praises Xi, Ma for foresight and leadership

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeuo (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) wave to members of the media in the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, on Nov 7, 2015.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeuo (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) wave to members of the media in the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, on Nov 7, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

China's media was effervescent yesterday about the historic meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, saying it anchored the future of cross-strait relations, allowing ties to flourish.

News reports stressed the significance of an event that happened 66 years after the two sides split in 1949 at the end of a civil war, with many giving it prominent coverage, while praising the leadership and foresight of the two men.

Pictures of Mr Xi and Mr Ma shaking hands, as well as holding talks, were placed on the front page of Communist Party mouthpiece People's Daily. "History will remember this day," said the headline of one news article it ran.

A commentary by state news agency Xinhua said: "This begins a new scenario for development between the two sides."

Professor Yin Cunyi at Tsinghua University said the meeting has marked an irreversible progress in cross-strait ties.

"Any side which attempts to reverse the trend of peace and cooperation will lose the support of the people," the professor in Taiwan relations told the China Daily.

Media reports were quick to note the negative consequences that could be in store if Taiwan's future political leaders decided to take a harder line with Beijing.

Taiwan goes to the polls next January, in an election predicted to hand Mr Ma's Kuomintang a defeat and sweep the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and its leader Tsai Ing-wen to power.

Commentators questioned if Ms Tsai will uphold the 1992 consensus, which the pro-independence DPP does not recognise. Ms Tsai has so far refused to comment on this issue.

Taiwan independence is still the biggest threat to peace, said a commentary in The Beijing News, and Taiwan will "need to consider if following the proven path of peace, or changing directions suddenly, will be more beneficial" to its future.

Noting that the DPP still has not removed the proposition for independence from its charter, the Communist Party-linked Global Times said the Taiwanese public should demand assurance from Ms Tsai that the DPP also upholds the 1992 consensus.

While the Xi-Ma meeting is historic, implementing its outcomes rests on the Taiwanese public, said the Global Times' editorial.

"This means the destiny of Taiwan's future rests in the hands of its society."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2015, with the headline 'Media praises Xi, Ma for foresight and leadership'. Print Edition | Subscribe