Xi-Ma meeting in Singapore a 'milestone' in ties

Taiwanese protesters display a banner against Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese President Xi Jinping for their upcoming meeting in Singapore, as they march towards the Presidential office in Taipei, Taiwan, Nov 4, 2015. PHOTO: EPA

The historic meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore on Saturday is aimed at consolidating cross-strait peace and cementing a political foundation for peaceful development, say both governments.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office chief Zhang Zhijun was quoted by the Xinhua news agency yesterday as saying the meeting will "mark a start of direct exchange and communication between leaders of the mainland and Taiwan".

Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council chief Andrew Hsia said at a press conference that a key aim of the meeting is to consolidate cross-strait peace and maintain the status quo.

The first meeting of presidents from both sides since the Chinese civil war ended and the KMT fled to Taiwan in 1949 will take place after Mr Xi's two-day state visit to Singapore starting Friday to mark 25 years of diplomatic relations.

Singapore's Foreign Ministry said the Republic was asked by both sides to help facilitate the meeting and it was happy to do so as "a close and longstanding friend" of both. It called the meeting a "milestone" in the history of cross-strait ties since 1949.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 05, 2015, with the headline Xi-Ma meeting in Singapore a 'milestone' in ties. Subscribe