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Saturday, November 7, 2015, 16:16

Leaders across Taiwan Strait meet for first time in 66 years

By Xinhua

Leaders across Taiwan Strait meet for first time in 66 years
Mainland leader Xi Jinping (right) and Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou shake hands at the Shangri-la Hotel in Singapore, Nov 7, 2015. (Agencies photo)

SINGAPORE - "Today will be remembered in history," Xi Jinping said on Saturday in a meeting between leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, adding that the meeting has opened up "a historic page" in cross-Strait relations.

No force can pull apart the two sides across the Strait which are "one family," said Xi in opening remarks before a closed-door meeting with Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore.

The 66-year history of the development of cross-Strait relations shows that no matter how much ordeal the two sides have undergone and how long the two sides have been isolated from each other, they cannot be pulled apart, Xi said.

Calling both sides "brothers who are still connected by our flesh even if our bones are broken," Xi told Ma that "at present, we are at the crossroads for choosing the direction and path for future development in cross-Strait relations."

"We are sitting together today to prevent the historical tragedy from repeating itself, prevent the fruits from peaceful development of cross-Strait ties from being lost again, enable compatriots across the Strait to continue to create a peaceful life, and enable our next generations to share a bright future," Xi said.

Xi said the two sides across the Strait should prove with concrete moves to the world that the Chinese from both sides have the capabilities and wisdom to solve their own problems.

Xi called on the two sides to jointly make greater contribution to world and regional peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Xi expressed his hope that the two sides could adhere to the 1992 Consensus, consolidate common political foundations, stick to the path of peaceful development, and maintain the right direction for development of cross-Strait ties.

Both sides should also deepen cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation, boost well-being of people on the two sides, make joint efforts for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and enable people on both sides to share the glory of national rejuvenation.

Xi made a four-point proposal on relations across the Taiwan Strait during the meeting.

"The peaceful development of cross-Strait relations over the past seven years lies in adhering to the 1992 Consensus and opposing Taiwan independence," Xi was quoted by Zhang Zhijun, the mainland's Taiwan affairs chief, after the closed-door meeting.

Xi called for consolidating and deepening the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations, stressing that "they are at the best period since 1949" and that the biggest threat is Taiwan independence force.

Xi and Ma shook hands earlier on Saturday afternoon in the first meeting between leaders of the two sides of the Strait since 1949, opening up a historic page in cross-Strait relations.

Leaders across Taiwan Strait meet for first time in 66 years
Mainland leader Xi Jinping (right) and Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou wave to journalists during a meeting at Shangri-la hotel in Singapore on Nov 7, 2015. (Agencies photo)

Addressing the meeting in his opening remarks, Ma said the two sides should consolidate the consensus of the one-China principle and make contributions to the revival of the Chinese nation.

The 1992 Consensus with the endorsement of the one-China principle is the common political foundation for advancing the peaceful development of the cross-Strait ties, Ma said.

"We should consolidate the 1992 Consensus, and maintain the peaceful status quo," Ma said in one of his five-point proposals.

Ma suggested that the two sides reduce hostility and resolve disputes in peaceful means, while expanding cross-Strait exchanges in a bid to achieve win-win outcomes.

Heads of Taiwan's mainland affairs body and the Chinese mainland's Taiwan affairs organ should set up a hotline to deal with emergency and important issues, Ma suggested.

Ma added that the two sides should cooperate and be committed to the revival of the Chinese nation, as the peoples of the both sides across the Strait are all Chinese descendants.

"The cross-Strait relations are at the most peaceful and stable period since 1949," Ma noted.

He cited that in the past seven years the two sides have signed a total of 23 agreements, with over 40,000 students exchanging across the Strait, over 8 million cross-Strait tourists annually and an annual trade volume worth over US$170 billion.

Leaders across Taiwan Strait meet for first time in 66 years
Mainland leader Xi Jinping (right ) and Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou (left ) meet at the Shangri-la Hotel in Singapore on Nov 7, 2015. (Agencies photo)
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