Taiwan talks ‘a milestone’
‘Misters’ Xi and Ma scheduled to meet on Saturday to exchange views on peaceful development of ties
The scheduled meeting between leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Straits, Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou, will be “a milestone in nearly seven decades of cross-Straits relations”, the mainland’s Taiwan affairs chief said on Wednesday.
Xi, general secretary of the Communist Party of China, will meet with Taiwan leader Ma on Saturday in Singapore during his two-day visit to the country, according to Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council.
The two leaders will exchange views on promoting peaceful development of cross-Straits relations, and they will discuss major issues on deepening cross-Straits cooperation in various areas and improving people’s welfare, Zhang said.
As the first such meeting since 1949, the momentous event will be a start of direct dialogues between top leaders on both sides, he said.
Xi and Ma will address each other as “mister” and have dinner after the meeting. Zhang said the manner of address was agreed upon by both sides, and that a decision was made based on the fact that the political divergence across the Straits hasn’t been fully solved. The manner of address also embodies the spirit of mutual respect and suspending of the dispute, Zhang added.
The political situation in Taiwan has been experiencing slight turbulence recently, as the island’s ruling Kuomintang Party replaced deputy legislative speaker Hung Hsiu-chu in October with KMT Chairman Eric Chu for the island’s leadership election, which is scheduled for Jan 16.
Chu will face a tough battle with Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.