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Presidents of China, Taiwan hold historic meet

Singapore: Leaving behind their Cold War-era differences and traumatic 1949 split, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Taiwani counterpart Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday shook hands and smiled in front of a mass of journalists as they met for talks at a luxury hotel in the neutral venue of Singapore.

President Xi said their meeting was a historic step that opened a new chapter in relations between the two sides.

No agreements were announced between the two sides that still refuse to formally recognise each other’s legitimacy, while President Ma’s moves face significant opposition at home.

But the encounter is undeniably historic: the previous occasion was in 1945, when Communist revolutionary leader Mao Zedong met with China’s nationalist President Chiang Kai-shek in a failed reconciliation attempt.

President Ma later told reporters he proposed the establishment of a hotline between to the two sides and that president Xi responded positively.

He also raised issues sensitive to Taiwan’s people, including the arsenal of Chinese missiles aimed at Taiwan, and China’s policy of marginalising the island diplomatically.

The meeting CAME ahead of the presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan, which the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is favoured to win, something Beijing is desperate to avoid. (ANI)