The leaders of political rivals Taiwan and China have met for the first time in more than 60 years.
The talks between China’s President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou, is the first such encounter since China’s civil war ended in 1949.
They began their hour-long summit by stating their determination to promote peace and forge relations based on mutual respect, wisdom and patience.
China’s Nationalists, also known as the Kuomintang (KMT), related to Taiwan after losing the civil war to the Communists, who are still in charge in Beijing.
Beijing has never renounced the use of force to bring what it considers a breakaway province under its control and many in Taiwan believe something sinister lies China’s peaceful overtures.
Liao Chia-yu, a member of the Free Taiwan party, said: “We will wait for Ma Ying-jeou to give us answers. He will return to Taiwan tonight so we will stay here at least until then. Holding a bigger protest isn’t out of the question for us because this is a very important thing for the Taiwanese people. We can’t allow our sovereignty to be exploited.”
Although no agreements are expected from what is being widely seen as a highly symbolic get-together in Singapore, many Taiwanese accuse their president of “selling out” and preparing to enter discussions which have not been approved by the people.
The meeting comes ahead of presidential and parliamentary elections in Taiwan which the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is expected to win, something Beijing is desperate to avoid.