This Saturday's meeting between China President Xi Jingping and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore will be a moment in history.
Not since Mao Zedong met Chiang Kai-shek 70 years ago in Chongqing in 1945 has there been a summit meeting between the two sides. That meeting failed and led to a civil war which eventually divided China along the Straits of Taiwan. This coming meeting will discuss peaceful cross-straits relations based on 'One China' from Beijing's point of view and based on 'the 1992 Consensus' from Taipeh's point of view.
In agreeing to meet, both sides take a pragmatic approach which is good for Chinese people living on the Mainland and in Taiwan. It should be good news for all Chinese people because the division of China was the result of long years of western and Japanese imperialism which humiliated all Chinese people. It is good news for Singapore and for many people living in Asia because better cross-straits relations create better conditions for peaceful development in the entire region.
We should not expect dramatic announcements at the end of the Singapore meeting. The meeting is the drama which will hopefully open a new chapter in the history of China and the peaceful revival of the Chinese nation. That the meeting should now take place is because of careful diplomatic preparation. The symbolism of the meeting itself will alter the psychology of cross-straits relations in a positive way for years to come. Whoever becomes President of Taiwan next year should then begin his or her term of office in a better position.
That Singapore should provide the venue is not an accident. Singapore has a 'One China' policy and has close relations with both the Mainland and Taiwan. We are linked to both by history, culture and blood. It is an honour for us to play host as it was when we played host to the historic Wang-Koo talks in 1993.