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Chinese and Taiwanese presidents set historic summit

By Shawn Price
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Chinese and Taiwanese presidents set historic summit
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou gives an address during his inauguration ceremony in Taipei on May 20, 2008. Ma will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping for a historic summit in Singapore. (UPI Photo/SNP/Kouji Fukagawa) | License Photo

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- A historic summit has been set between the presidents of China and Taiwan, Taiwanese officials said Tuesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou will meet in Singapore on Saturday. The meeting will be the first ever between the two countries and included as part of Xi's already scheduled visit to Singapore.

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The goal will be to "secure cross-strait peace" of the Taiwan Straits, Ma spokesman Charles Chen said, but neither an agreement would be signed nor a joint statement would be made.

China has claimed control over Taiwan since the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 when the Chinese Communist Party came to power in China.

There have been tensions between the countries for decades but things have eased since Ma took office in 2008. The Chinese government has been threatening to use force since 2005 if Taiwan attempts to gain independence.

The summit is a sign of how concerned Beijing is that Taiwan's presidential election, now three months away, will damage the improved relations of recent years. Opinion polls show the pro-independence party is leading.

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