China / HK Macao Taiwan

Leaders across Taiwan Straits meet for first time in 66 years

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-11-07 19:35

Leaders across Taiwan Straits meet for first time in 66 years

Xi Jinping (R) shakes hands with Ma Ying-jeou during their meeting at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, Nov. 7, 2015. [Photo/Xinhua]

Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou shook hands on Saturday afternoon in Singapore in the first meeting between leaders of the two sides of the Taiwan Straits since 1949, opening up a historic page in cross-Straits relations.

Both dressed in dark suits, the two leaders walked toward each other in a room crowded by hundreds of journalists at the Shangri-La Hotel at around 3 p.m. local time before extending their hands almost at the same time.

Xi wore a red tie and Ma a blue one. Under the nearly blinding flashlights of cameras, they smiled at each other and shook hands firmly for more than a minute.

"Today will be remembered in history," Xi said in opening remarks before a closed-door meeting with Ma.

"No force can pull us apart, because we are brothers who are still connected by our flesh even if our bones are broken, and we are one family," Xi told Ma.

Such a close bond has been testified by the 66-year history of the development of cross-Straits relations despite ordeals and long-term isolation from each other, he said.

The two leaders addressed each other "mister" in the meeting.

"We are sitting together today to prevent the historical tragedy from repeating itself, prevent the fruits from peaceful development of cross-Straits ties from being lost again, enable compatriots across the Straits 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 Straits should prove with concrete moves to the world that the Chinese from both sides have the capabilities and wisdom to solve their own problems.

During the closed-door meeting, Xi made a four-point proposal on cross-Straits relations, Zhang Zhijun, the mainland's Taiwan affairs chief, told a press conference.

Xi called for adhering to the common political consensus of the two sides, referring to the 1992 Consensus reached between the two sides that endorses the one-China principle.

"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 as saying.

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

He also called for boosting well-being of people on the two sides, and promoting cultural and education cooperation.

In addition, Xi called on the two sides across the Straits to make joint efforts to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, according to Zhang.

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.

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

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 Straits are all Chinese descendants.

The two leaders are set to attend a dinner after the meeting.