Singapore consistently supports China-Taiwan relations, including direct dialogue: MFA

Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeuo (left) and Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) shake hands in a ballroom of the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, Nov 7, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

Singapore has been a consistent supporter of relations between China and Taiwan, including direct cross-straits dialogue and the institutionalisation of cross-strait exchanges, according to a spokesman from the Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on the meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou that took place in Singapore on Saturday (Oct 7).

The MFA spokesman, speaking in response to queries from the media on the historic meeting between the two leaders at the Shangri-la Hotel, said Singapore was "glad to facilitate" the summit.

"Building on the foundation of the 1993 Wang-Koo talks, this successful meeting has established a precedent for top leaders of both sides to directly engage each other," he said, referring to a cross-straits meeting between Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits chairman Wang Daohan and Straits Exchange Foundation charman Koo Chen-fu, which also took place in Singapore on April 29, 1993.

Calling Singapore a "good and long-time friend of both sides", the MFA also said it looks forward to "sustained peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait, which will enhance the security and prosperity of our region".

Mr Ma, in a reply to Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's post on Facebook on Saturday night of the leaders meeting over tea after the Xi-Ma meeting, also mentioned the Wang-Koo talks, as well as his meeting with former prime minister Lee Kuan Yew at the East Asian Economic Summit in 2003.

Thanking PM Lee and Singapore for the "warm welcome", the Taiwan leader highlighted how Singapore had played a "vital" role in facilitating peaceful cross-straits relations.

Mr Ma recalled how he and Mr Lee Kuan Yew had agreed that "cross-strait development should be based on people's interests".

"Without you and your father, none of this could have happened," he told PM Lee.

Replying to Mr Ma's comment, PM Lee described Singapore as an "old friend" of both China and Taiwan that "firmly upheld a One China policy".

"Singapore is glad to have played a modest role providing the venue for the meeting, just as we did with the Wang-Koo talks in 1993," he added.

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