Singapore says 'happy to facilitate' talks between China and Taiwan

Singapore is happy to help facilitate and be the venue for the talks.
Singapore is happy to help facilitate and be the venue for the talks.PHOTO: REUTERS

SINGAPORE - Singapore was requested by China and Taiwan to facilitate the historic meeting between the leaders of both sides that will take place in the Republic this weekend, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) said on Wednesday (Nov 4), adding that Singapore is happy to help facilitate and be the venue for the talks.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou are set to sit down for talks on Saturday (Nov 7) in Singapore. The talks are the first between the top leaders across the Taiwan Strait since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949.

In a statement, the MFA said both sides had requested that the Republic help facilitate the meeting between the two leaders.

"This is a milestone in the history of cross-strait relations since 1949. As a close and longstanding friend of both Mainland China and Taiwan, we are happy to facilitate and be the venue for their direct dialogue," the MFA added.

"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 statement said.

In 1993, Singapore played host to the so-called "Wang-Koo" meeting that saw Taiwan and China discuss bilateral ties. Several agreements were reached at the meeting between the heads of the two-semi-government bodies - Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) chief, Mr Koo Chen-fu, and chairman for China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (Arats), Mr Wang Daohan - to further cross-strait economic, cultural and technical exchanges.

MFA also noted in its statement that the meeting between the two leaders is separate from the two-day state visit to Singapore by Mr Xi that begins on Friday (Nov 6). Mr Xi's visit is being held "in conjunction with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Singapore and the People's Republic of China," the MFA added.