Historical handshake: China, Taiwan leaders meet in Singapore

China's President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou kick-started a historic summit on Saturday in Singapore, the first meeting between Chinese and Taiwanese leaders in 66 years.

IANS| Last Updated: Nov 07, 2015, 14:54 PM IST
Historical handshake: China, Taiwan leaders meet in Singapore

Singapore: China's President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou kick-started a historic summit on Saturday in Singapore, the first meeting between Chinese and Taiwanese leaders in 66 years.

The two leaders shook hands for about a minute and 10 seconds at the start of the talks, which was seen as largely symbolic.

Their meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel was the first between Chinese and Taiwanese leaders since the end of a civil war in 1949, Channel News Asia reported.

Xi and Ma held an hour-long meeting, and President Xi set the friendly tone for the meeting his opening remarks, saying: "We are one family. It does not matter how much both sides across the strait have been through. Nothing can separate us."

"Even though this is the first meeting, we feel like old friends. Behind us is history stretching for 60 years. Now before our eyes there are fruits of conciliation instead of confrontation," Xi said. 

He referred to Ma as "brother" and "comrade" and said they are opening a new chapter for cross-strait ties.

Ma echoed Xi's sentiment, saying, "At this very juncture, both sides of the Taiwan Strait are loudly declaring our determination for peace and the message of promoting peace in the region."

President Ma raised five points for the advancement of cross-strait ties; the 1992 Consensus will be the foundation of cross-strait relations; lower animosity across the strait; expand cross-strait dialogue, and work towards win-win conclusions; start a cross-strait hotline for emergent issues involving both parties; and Work together to build both Chinese sides for future generations.

Representatives from China and Taiwan will deliver separate news conferences later in the dau.

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.

Beijing considers Taiwan part of its territory and has refused to renounce the use of force in the event that the island's administration declares independence.