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Singapore plays 'vital role' in cross-strait peace: Ma

Taipei, Nov. 8 (CNA) President Ma Ying-jeou said on Sunday that Singapore, the host of Ma's historic meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (???) on Saturday, has played a "vital role" in the development of peaceful ties across the Taiwan Strait. In his response to a message posted by Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Lee's Facebook page, Ma said that without assistance from Lee and his father Lee Kuan Yew, the founding prime minister of Singapore, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait would not have reached such a point in improved bilateral ties. "Thank you, my old friend, Prime Minister Lee, for your hot tea, tasty pastries and warm welcome," Ma said in his response to Lee after he returned to Taipei following his meeting with Xi, the first ever between the leaders of the Republic of China (Taiwan) and the People's Republic of China. Ma met with Lee on Saturday after his encounter with Xi. Afterwards, Lee wrote on his Facebook page: "Caught up with President Ma Ying-jeou over tea this evening. Glad his meeting here went well. Hope this will lead to greater stability and prosperity for the region." Lee's message was posted when Ma was on his way back to Taipei Saturday night. But Lee did not disclose any details of his meeting with Ma, posting only a photo showing him sitting down with Ma for tea. In his response to Lee's message, Ma said he was happy to sit down and chat with Lee and discuss the landmark meeting with Xi at Singapore's Shangri-La Hotel. According to Singapore's Foreign Ministry, the country was asked by both Taiwan and China to facilitate the encounter, and it was glad to serve as the venue for what it called the historical dialogue and milestone in cross-Taiwan Strait history. In his response to Lee, Ma also mentioned the Koo-Wang meeting which took place in Singapore on April 29, 1993 and was the first meeting between the heads of quasi-official organizations representing Taiwan and China, paving the path for institutionalizing cross-strait dialogue. Koo Chen-fu (???), who was then the chairman of Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), and his Chinese counterpart Wang Daohan (???), who was then the president of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits (ARATS,???), met with each other on behalf of their respective governments. In October 1998, Koo and Wang met again in Shanghai and agreed to strengthen dialogue and continue negotiations, Ma said. "The Koo-Wang talks, in which four agreements were signed and institutionalized cross-strait negotiations were established, were held in Singapore," Ma noted. Ma said he and Singapore founding Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew attended the East Asian Economic Summit in 2003, which was also held at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, and both agreed that cross-strait development should be based on people's interests. "Singapore has played a vital role in facilitating and witnessing peaceful development across the Taiwan Strait. Without you and your father, none of this could have happened," Ma said. (By Liu Li-jung and Frances Huang)


Updated : 2021-09-19 09:12 GMT+08:00