The presidents of China and Taiwan are to meet for the first time since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949. Paul Chapman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS MATERIAL WHICH WAS ORIGINALLY 4:3 Chinese broadcaster CCTV announces the news that President Xi Jinping and his Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou are to hold historic talks. Saturday's meeting will be the first between leaders of the two rivals since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949. The talks will take place in Singapore. Taiwanese presidential office officials are trying to manage expectations. (SOUNDBITE) (Mandarin) TAIWANESE PRESIDENTIAL OFFICE SECRETARY, TSENG YUAN-QUAN, SAYING: "(Xi and Ma) will exchange views on the issues such as promoting the peace across the straits and maintaining the status quo across the straits. There will be no deals signed and no joint announcement after the Ma-Xi meeting. President Ma will return (to Taiwan) on the same day after the meeting." News of the unexpected meeting hasn't gone down well with everyone. These protesters gathered outside the parliament building in Taipei to show their hostility towards it. The main opposition Democratic Progressive Party is accusing Ma of trying to sway the outcome of next January's presidential elections. The party's own candidate is the front runner in the contest to replace Ma who's stepping down because of term limits. Some political observers say Beijing could also be trying to influence the outcome by showing that ties will continue to improve if Ma's pro-China Nationalist Party stays in charge. China considers the proudly democratic island a breakaway province to be taken by force if necessary, particularly if it makes a move towards formal independence.