Why Xi-Ma meeting is so significant

Updated: 2015-11-05 15:35


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Why Xi-Ma meeting is so significant

Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) candidate Ma Ying-jeou (L) and running mate Vincent Siew celebrate victory in the island's leadership election in Taipei, March 22, 2008. [Agencies]

Political situation in Taiwan

The political situation in Taiwan has been experiencing slight turbulence recently, as the island's ruling Kuomingtang Party replaced deputy legislative speaker Hung Hsiu-chu in October with KMT Chairman Eric Chu for the island's leadership election, which is scheduled for Jan 16.

Chu will face a tough battle with Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party.

"Taiwan's election campaign is heading into the homestretch, and the Kuomintang is facing a landslide defeat. The KMT is determined to win support from the mainland to turn the situation around," said Li Jiaquan, former director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of Taiwan Studies. "It is the last chance for the KMT. The Singapore meeting fills a need at the right time."

Singapore's positive role

Singapore has been a wellspring for key advancements in cross-Straits ties in the past.

"Lee Kuan-yew, the first prime minister of Singapore, played an important role in promoting the success of the meeting. Singapore's contribution to cross-Straits relations has been written into history," said Ni Yongjie, deputy director of the Shanghai Institute of Taiwan Studies.

Taiwan voices high expectation

The KMT, Taiwan's ruling party, in an online statement, described the meeting as "a major watershed" that offers an opportunity to realize mutually beneficial cooperation.

Andrew Hsia, Taiwan's mainland affairs chief, told a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the island expects the meeting to consolidate the current peaceful situation across the Taiwan Straits and lead to "a possible regular arrangement like the meetings between cross-Straits affairs chiefs."

Almost all newspapers, TV news channels and news websites in Taiwan through Tuesday night to Wednesday covered the upcoming meeting.

The Taiwan-based United Daily News called the meeting "the most important event in cross-Straits relations" in a report Wednesday.

"The meeting between Xi and Ma will bring cross-Straits exchanges to a new level and set the tone for cross-Straits policies in the future," the article wrote. "No matter what they will talk about, it will be the most important event in nearly seven decades and profoundly affect cross-Straits ties in the future."

Xinhua contributed to the story

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