Singapore, November 7 :Chi’s President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou kick-started a historic summit on Saturday in Singapore, the first such meeting between Chinese and Taiwanese leaders since the end of a civil war in 1949. The two leaders shook hands for about a minute and 10 seconds at the start of the talks, which was seen as largely symbolic, at the Shangri-La Hotel. “Today will be remembered in history,” Xi said in opening remarks before a closed door meeting with Ma. “No force can pull us apart, because we are brothers who are still connected by our flesh even if our bones are broken, and we are one family,” Xi told Ma. Ma echoed Xi’s sentiment, saying, “At this very juncture, both sides of the Taiwan Strait are loudly declaring our determition for peace and the message of promoting peace in the region,” Channel News Asia reported. The talks came ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan, in which the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is favoured to win.
Representatives from Chi and Taiwan held separate news conferences detailing the outcome of the meeting. Zhang Zhijun, head of Chi’s Taiwan Affairs office, said that forces seeking Taiwan’s independence are the greatest threat to cross-strait peace. He added that Chi would not interfere with the upcoming Taiwan election, but is concerned with the future of cross-strait ties. Zhang also said Chi invites Taiwan to participate in the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. President Ma chaired his own news conference after the meeting and said Taiwan would maintain the 1992 consensus and deal with any conflicts peacefully. He added that both parties must be sincere, honest and respectful in resolving differences, and have agreed to look into a cross-strait hotline for emergencies, which Ma raised in his opening remarks.
The 1992 consensus reached between the two sides endorses the one-Chi principle. Ma noted that the mood of talks was very amicable, and said Xi was very pragmatic and straightforward. “This is not for my political legacy. This is for the future of Taiwan,” Ma said, explaining that even though he had not much time left in office, he wanted to lay the foundation for future leaders of the island. The two leaders are to attend a dinner later in the evening. Singapore, which is hosting President Xi on a two-day state visit, has said it was “happy to facilitate” the meeting and to provide the venue for the talks. However, in the Taiwanese capital, Taipei, about 1,000 protesters marched on Saturday to denounce the meeting. There were separate protests near Taipei Songshan Airport, where Ma left earlier in the day for Singapore. Separately, five Taiwanese were also detained in Singapore for disrupting security outside the the Shangri-La Hotel. (IANS)