Leaders of China, Taiwan to meet for first time in six decades

By REUTERS
November 7, 2015 09:16
1 minute read.

 
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Leaders of political rivals Taiwan and China will meet on Saturday for the first time in more than 60 years for talks that come amid rising anti-Beijing sentiment on the self-ruled democratic island and weeks ahead of elections there.

The talks between China President Xi Jinping and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou, the first such meeting since China's civil war ended in 1949, are to be held in the neutral venue of Singapore.

They come ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections on Taiwan which the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is favored to win, something Beijing is desperate to avoid.

The Nationalists, also known as the Kuomintang (KMT), retreated to Taiwan after losing the civil war to the Communists, who are still in charge in Beijing.

China has never renounced the use of force to bring what it considers a breakaway province under its control.

But while bilateral trade, investment and tourism have blossomed - particularly since Ma and his KMT took power in 2008 - there is deep suspicion on both sides and no progress has been made on any sort of political settlement.

"I am here to promise to everyone, we must be doing our best to reach the goal that we set previously, making the Taiwan Strait more peaceful, making the two sides more cooperative," Ma told reporters before boarding his flight to Singapore.

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