Carefully orchestrated meeting between presidents of China and Taiwan
08 November 2015, Nirapad News:Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou wave to journalists before their meeting at Shangrila hotel in Singapore last Saturday. — AFP
SINGAPORE, November 08: News of the meeting between the presidents and Taiwan last Saturday in this city state took the region by surprise when it emerged earlier, sparking a backlash from Taiwanese pro-independence activists and the opposition Democratic Progressive party, ahead of legislative and presidential elections in January, according to a report in the global media.
This has been the first such encounter between two sides that have been fighting over the status of the self-governing island since 1949, the report adds.
China’s Xi Jinping and Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou, while smiling broadly and wearing complementary red and blue ties, shook hands for more than one minute in front of the world’s media on the neutral territory of Singapore’s Shangri-La hotel, according to the report.
Mr Ma, whose pro-China policies have made him deeply unpopular, has been seeking talks with Mr Xi for several years and analysts said that the Chinese president was making a bold move by agreeing to his request now, the report says.
On its part, China has tried using threats and, more recently, promoting closer economic ties to bring Taiwan back into the fold. But polls show that more and more Taiwanese identify themselves as separate from China and back continuing self-rule if not full independence, the report adds.
The meeting, further adds the report, was carefully orchestrated to maintain the ambiguous status quo between the two parties, with both leaders agreeing to call each other “Mr” — rather than “President” — and split the bill for their dinner at the luxury hotel.
However, the differences between democratic Taiwan and autocratic China were still apparent. Immediately after the meeting, the head of Beijing’s Taiwan Affairs Office gave a perfunctory press conference in place of his president with preselected questions from a handful of journalists, the report adds.