Tai­wan talks ‘a mile­stone’

‘Mis­ters’ Xi and Ma sched­uled to meet on Satur­day to ex­change views on peace­ful de­vel­op­ment of ties

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By PENG YINING in Bei­jing pengyin­ing@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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.

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