Ma Ying-jeou expects Singapore meeting to benefit next generation

Updated: 2015-11-05 18:34


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TAIPEI - Ma Ying-jeou, leader of Taiwan, said on Thursday he will try to deepen exchange and cooperation and reduce hostility on certain issues across the Taiwan Strait during the meeting with Xi Jinping in Singapore on Saturday.

Ma told a press conference he hopes the meeting will be the first step of a regular arrangement in the future.

"The meeting looks to the well-being of our next generation," he said.

It is the result of improving cross-Strait relations and mutual trust in the past seven years, he said.

Since 2008, 11 rounds of cross-Strait talks have been held and 23 important cross-Strait agreements signed, including lifting bans on direct shipping, air transport and postal services in 2008, and the long-awaited Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement in 2010.

Cross-Strait interaction has progressed from talks limited between two non-governmental organizations to meetings between cross-Strait affairs chiefs from both sides.

"We can see a gradual ascending pattern. We can not rule out the possibility of higher-level mechanisms," Ma said.

The ultimate purpose is to promote cross-Strait peace and prosperity, consolidate regional stability and improve people's welfare, he said.

The mainland has hailed the scheduled meeting "a breakthrough" and "milestone."

On Wednesday, Zhang Zhijun, the mainland's Taiwan affairs chief, noted that the decision showed the willingness from both sides to put aside differences while respecting each other.

The meeting will be the first in 66 years since the Kuomintang, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan after being defeated in a civil war.

At the scheduled meeting, Xi and Ma will be in their capacity as "leaders of the two sides of the Strait" and address each other as "Mr".

The Singapore meeting is a pragmatic arrangement reached between the mainland and Taiwan in line with the one-China principle, Zhang said.