President Ma Ying-jeou of Taiwan is to confer with President Xi Jinping of China in Singapore on Saturday, according to statements from both.
Here is my favorite comment from the Times comments so far:
These articles always give weight to China’s ridiculous stance that Taiwan is a breakaway (or “renegade”) province that must return to the embrace of the motherland but ignore Taiwan’s actual history. It is not true that Taiwan has always been part of China! For most of Chinese history, Taiwan was a frontier island populated mostly by aborigines; eventually it was incorporated into the Manchu (not Han) Qing Empire, but it didn’t become a province until the late 1800s. Taiwan was a Japanese colony for 50 years; hardly anyone there even spoke Mandarin when the Nationalists arrived in 1945. Chiang Kai-shek was responsible for the murder of thousands of Taiwanese who had the temerity to ask for greater autonomy under Chinese rule. (Google “February 28 Incident.”) Taiwan spent the next four decades under martial law, its people ruled by outsiders in what amounted to a second colonization.
To be fair, however, Mr. Ramzy does mention that Ma is unpopular in Taiwan thanks to his efforts to “engage with” a hostile state that denies Taiwan’s sovereignty and has not renounced the threat of “reunification” by force. This may be a historic meeting, but it’s certainly nothing for supporters of democracy and the right to self-determination to get excited about. If Taiwan’s going to have a bright future, it must avoid excessive economic dependence on China and build ties with its fellow democracies, which are also concerned about belligerent Chinese expansionism.