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Ma departs for historic summit with Chinese president (update)

Ma departs for historic summit with Chinese president (update)

Taipei, Nov. 7 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (???) left for Singapore early Saturday for a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (???), a historic summit that he hopes will become the first step toward regular talks between leaders of the two former adversaries. Speaking to reporters before his departure at the airport, Ma said he will seek to solidify peace and the status quo across the Taiwan Strait during the trip. He reiterated the principle of "one China with different interpretations" in Taiwan's conduct of relations with the mainland and also his formula for the maintenance of the status quo: "no unification, no independence and no use of force." Saying cross-strait ties have never been more stable in the past 66 years, Ma said that this is an appropriate moment to further promote the development of bilateral relations. With the meeting in Singapore, Ma said he hopes to establish a mechanism for meetings between the leaders of Taiwan and China so that, whoever Taiwan's future presidents might be, there will be opportunities to further improve ties on the new platform. Taiwan is due to elect its next president in just over two months and Tsai Ing-wen (???), chairwoman and presidential candidate of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party, has enjoyed a comfortable margin in opinion polls during the campaign. Ma's charter flight is due to arrive in Singapore at 10:30 a.m. and beginning at 3:00 p.m., the two presidents will meet behind closed doors for an hour, the first such meeting since before 1949, when the Kuomintang government moved to Taiwan after its defeat in a civil war with the communists. After the meeting, China and Taiwan will each hold a 30-minute press conference on the meeting at 4:15 p.m. and 4:45 p.m., respectively. While Ma will speak to reporters in person, the post-meeting briefing on the Chinese side will be given by Zhang Zhijun (???), minister of China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO). The two leaders will each lead a small delegation into the talks. On the Taiwan side, Ma will be accompanied by Presidential Office Secretary-General Tseng Yung-chuan (???), Deputy Secretary-General Hsiao Hsu-tsen (???), National Security Council Secretary-General Kao Hua-chu (???), National Security Advisor Chiu Kun-Shuan (???), Mainland Affairs Council Minister Hsia Li-yan (???) and his deputy Wu Mei-hung (???). Xi will also be accompanied by six people -- the head and deputy head of the General Office of the Communist Party Central Committee Li Zhanshu (???) and Ding Xuexiang (???), State Councilor Yang Jiechi (???), TAO Minister Zhang and his deputy Chen Yuanfeng (???), and Communist Party official Wang Huning (???). Ma will have dinner with Xi before flying back to Taiwan late Saturday. Taiwanese officials have said that the two sides will split the bill for the meal, since it is "not about who will be whose guest, but about having dinner together." Xi is in Singapore on a state visit to the city state. More than 300 media outlets from around the world will be present to cover the historic meeting, and the two sides have decided to limit the number of reporters at Saturday's press conferences to 400. (By Huang Tzu-chiang, Claudia Liu, Lawrence Chiu, Lee Mei-yu, Kuo Chung-han and Flor Wang)


Updated : 2021-09-25 03:43 GMT+08:00