Singapore said Wednesday that both Beijing and Taipei had asked it to help set up this weekend’s historic summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou.
The first-ever leaders’ meeting between the two sides since they split at the end of the Chinese civil war in 1949 will be held Saturday, on the sidelines of a state visit by Xi to Singapore.
The mainly ethnic Chinese city-state also hosted unofficial China-Taiwan talks in 1993 that helped pave the way for a thaw in relations.
“Singapore was requested by both sides to help facilitate the meeting…” the foreign ministry said in a statement.
“As a close and longstanding friend of both Mainland China and Taiwan, we are happy to facilitate and be the venue for their direct dialogue,” the ministry said.
“Singapore has consistently upheld a ‘One China’ policy and supported initiatives that contribute to the peaceful development of cross-strait relations, including direct exchanges between the two sides such as the historic Wang-Koo talks held in Singapore in 1993,” it added.
The talks were named after China’s Wang Daohan and Taiwan’s Koo Chen-fu, who led private but government-backed delegations that met in April 1993.
Singapore’s then-prime minister Lee Kuan Yew acted as a channel for messages between the two sides before the talks.