Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou, who waves to the crowd, leaves the hotel after a dinner party with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Photo: Weibo/talkcock
Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou was found red-faced after a dinner party with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday evening in Singapore.
The one-hour dinner party came after the first meeting between the leaders from the two sides since 1949, turning a historic page in cross-Strait relations.
It is the first time that leaders across the Taiwan Strait have shaken hands and faced each other across a table in 66 years. Relations between the mainland and Taiwan stalled when Chiang Kai-shek’s Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, fled to Taiwan in 1949 after the civil war.
In their capacities as "leaders of the two sides" of the Taiwan Strait, both Xi and Ma addressed each other only as "mister" throughout their meeting.
A total of 14 people from the two sides attended the round-table dinner at the Shangri-la Hotel. The two sides split the bill.
Ma, who was seen flushed when leaving the hotel, shook hands with people waiting outside the hotel. He brought two bottles of Kinmen Kaoliang Spirits, a Taiwan’s local specialty, for Xi. The vintage liquor was produced in 1990 to mark an agreement reached between Chinese mainland division commander Gao Huazhu and Taiwan counterparts in Kinmen.
The dishes included stir-fried lobster with garlic sprouts, braised Dongpo pork, fried lily with asparagus and Sichuan spicy noodle.
The Taiwan side gifted Xi a handicraft porcelain bottle in the shape of Taiwan Blue magpie while Xi reportedly gave Ma a masterpiece by mainland painter Liu Dawei.
(The article is translated by Wu Jie.)