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Historical summit to be held in Singapore by Taiwan and China leaders

The first ever meeting of the leaders of China and Taiwan is to take place in Singapore on Saturday with the aim to ‘focus on relations across the Taiwan Straits’ (1).

Since Taiwan broke away from China in 1949 after the Communist Party won the damaging civil war against the Kuomintang, the two sides have only been in contact in 2009, when they exchanged direct messages for the first time in 60 years.

It has been said that Ma Ying-jeou, Taiwan’s president, has highlighted that no agreements will be signed and no joint statement will be issued. “The two sides will exchange views on promoting the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations,” Xinhua, Chinas official news agency stated (1).

Less than three months before Taiwan’s elections, this meeting has come at a very touchy time,  drawing criticism from the Democratic Progressive Party in Taiwan saying that it had been ‘arranged in haste without popular support and looked like attempted political manipulation’ (2).

China’s government, led by Xi Jinping, threatens to enforce military action against Taiwan if it ever tries to achieve outright independence. China is convinced that one day, Taiwan will be reunited with the mainland, and that for now it is just a breakaway province, therefore it claims sovereignty over the island.