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Taiwanese concerned about China's military threat, Ma told Xi

Singapore, Nov. 7 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou (???) said Saturday that he brought up the Taiwanese people's concerns about China's military threat against Taiwan, during his unprecedented meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (???) in Singapore earlier in the day. Speaking at a news conference after the meeting, which was held shortly after his closed-door talks with Xi at the Shangri-La Hotel, Ma said he told Xi during their encounter that many people in Taiwan are concerned about China's military deployment against Taiwan, including missiles and the Zhurihe combat training base. According to Ma, Xi responded that "these deployments do not target Taiwan." Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense has estimated that China has more than 1,000 missiles targeting Taiwan. Among other topics discussed during the meeting were lowering the state of hostility across the Taiwan Strait and expanding cross-strait exchanges. Security and dignity are among the biggest concerns for the people of Taiwan, Ma said. There have been cases in which Taiwanese people were denied participation in international non-government organizations and Taiwan faces setbacks in seeking participation in regional economic integration and international activities, Ma said. "We hope the hostility on these issues will be reduced," Ma said, adding that Xi pledged that Beijing will deal with those cases. On the issue of expanding cross-strait exchanges, Ma reiterated Taiwan's wish to join regional economic integration. "There shouldn't be a problem of one coming first before the other," he said, referring to the possibility that Taiwan might be admitted to a trade bloc, such as the United States-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, before China. Xi said China is willing to discuss those issues with Taiwan and welcomed Taiwan's participation in the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), and "One Belt, One Road," an initiative raised by Xi that focuses on economic and other types of cooperation among several countries. The pledge was not new, with China having previously supported Taiwan's entry into the AIIB only to deny its application as one of the founding members of the organization. The Ma-Xi meeting, which was held in Singapore, was the first-ever between the leaders of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China. The PRC was founded in 1949 after the end of the Chinese civil war, won by the Communists over the Nationalists, who moved the seat of the ROC government to Taiwan. After the meeting, Ma and Xi had dinner together, after which Ma will return to Taiwan. The historic cross-strait talks came amid Xi's state visit to Singapore to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Singapore. (By Elaine Hou)

Updated : 2021-09-20 08:32 GMT+08:00