Xi, Ma shake hands in historic China-Taiwan meeting
Nov 7, Singapore: China President Xi Jingping and his Taiwan counterpart Ma Ying-jeou met as the first head of the states in 60 years as historic talks is set to begin in Singapore between the two countries.
In what seen as a symbolic picture, the two leaders shook hands before preparing for talks. This is the first time in 60 years that leaders from both sides are meeting after the Chinese Civil War ended in 1949 and Taiwan broke away from China. The relationship between the two nations so far has been sour.
China views Taiwan as a breakaway province which will one day be reunited with the mainland. But many Taiwanese see it as independent and are concerned at China's growing influence.
Soon after Ma left for Singapore, a group of protestors were arrested as they were in an attempt to set on fire the images of him and the Chinese premier. "As a president who doesn't represent public opinion, Ma doesn't have the right to meet with the leader across the strait," one of the protesters Chen, said.
"Both sides should respect each other's values and way of life," Mr Ma said. Mr Xi told the Taiwanese leader: "We are one family." Relations between the two countries have improved since Mr Ma took over the country in 2008, with better economic ties, improving tourism links, and a trade pact signed.