China-Taiwan Summit: Why Now? And What to Expect
Don’t expect major political breakthroughs.
The announcement that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou will hold a historic summit in Singapore on November 7 came as a total surprise. While the meeting, which will be the first between leaders of the mainland and Taiwan since 1949, represents a monumental breakthrough in cross-strait relations, many questions remain unanswered as to the intent and outcome of this summit.
Chinese and Taiwanese officials did, however, reach one clever semantic compromise. In the past, the most difficult hurdle for holding high-level official meetings between China and Taiwan has been Taiwan’s status. China insisted that Taiwanese officials either participate in their non-official capacities or present themselves as officials of a “provincial” or “regional” government, implicitly acknowledging the People’s Republic of China’s (PRC) sovereignty over the Republic of China (ROC), which is Taiwan’s formal name.