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Taiwan, China to hold key meet

TAIPEI/BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold talks with his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore on Saturday in the first such meeting of leaders from the two rivals since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949.

The historic meeting comes at a sensitive time in Taiwan, with elections for a new president and legislature being held on Jan. 16 amid rising anti-China sentiment, particularly among younger Taiwanese who don’t believe Taiwan benefits from closer economic ties with its giant neighbor. Ma’s office said in a statement that the purpose of his trip was to “consolidate cross-strait peace and maintain the status quo”. Ma would not sign any agreements, nor issue any joint statements with China during the trip, it added.

Zhang Zhijun, head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, said the two leaders will “exchange views on promoting the peaceful development of cross-Taiwan Straits relations”, according to a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency. “This is a pragmatic arrangement made in accordance with the one-China principle under the situation where the political dispute across the Taiwan Strait has yet to be resolved,” Zhang added.