Taiwan and China Presidents Will Meet For The First Time Since 1949

Taiwan and China Presidents Will Meet For The First Time Since 1949
圖片來源:人民日報
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Taiwan presidential spokesperson Chen Yi-hsin says Ma's proposal for this meeting is to promote peace between the two sides and maintain the status quo. He says that no agreements will be signed and no joint statements will be issued.

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On the evening of November 3, the Taiwanese government confirmed that President Ma Ying-jeou and Chinese President Xi Jin-ping will meet in Singapore on November 7 to exchange views on cross-strait relations as well as how to maintain the status quo. This is the first meeting between Taiwan and China since the two sides split in 1949.

Taiwan presidential spokesperson Chen Yi-hsin says Ma’s proposal for this meeting is to promote peace between the two sides and maintain the status quo. He says that no agreements will be signed and no joint statements will be issued.

UDN reports, the government was originally planning to issue the official announcement this afternoon, but the message was leaked to pro-DPP media when the government informed scholars and other political figures who needed to know the news in advance. This led to the government having to confirm the news earlier than scheduled.

CNN reports point out that China is Taiwan’s biggest trade partner. Hundreds of flights travel between the two nations each week and Chinese banks now operate on the island while many Taiwanese companies have factories in China. As the head of the KMT, Ma has been a key driver in forging closer ties since he took office after the 2008 presidential election.

However, in spite of their frequent interactions, major tensions still persist, which is why the meeting between the leaders from both countries is significant.

Apple Daily has compiled Ma’s views regarding the summit between him and Xi in recent years. In 2013, Ma said that for the summit to take place it would require conditions including proper titles and occasions. He also stressed the country’s sovereignty could not be harmed.

In 2014, Ma said in an interview with The Nikkei that the cross-strait leaders would not meet unless under the need of the country, support of the people and the supervision of the parliament.

In July this year, Ma told BBC that China tried to avoid the leaders from both sides to meet during international occasions in fear that it might violate the “one China" consensus. However, Ma himself didn’t exclude the possibility, but didn’t insist on holding the summit either.

UDN reports, Zhao Chun-shan, professor of the Graduate Institute of China Studies in Tamkang University and the chairman of the Prospect Foundation, says that the think tanks from both sides have been making efforts after the APEC conference last year for the summit to take place.

The success shows affirmation towards the outcome of cross-strait exchanges based on the 1992 consensus in the past seven years. Zhao hopes that the cross-strait relations can move forward to a systemic reconciliation regardless of the changes in both Taiwanese and international politics, so that the efforts made for peaceful development between the two sides won’t have been done in vain.

Ma is no longer the chairman of the KMT and so the summit will not be a party-to-party meeting. As for why Beijing is willing to break its tradition to meet with Taiwanese leader in an equal way? Zhao says that he assumes that Xi has faced many problems both in China and abroad ever since he took the office, so it’s beneficial and necessary for the two sides to maintain peace for Xi.

China’s People’s Daily reports, Ma Xiao-guang, spokesperson for China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, says that China has always kept an open and positive attitude when it comes to meetings between leaders of the two sides.

Translated by Vic Chiang
Edited by Olivia Yang

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