When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

After 66 years of standoff between Taiwan and the People's Republic of China, the top leaders from both sides of the Taiwan Strait will meet this coming Saturday in Singapore.

Compared to relative silence on the mainland, Taiwanese newspapers Wednesday were dominated by the surprise announcement of the upcoming historic encounter between Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou and the Chinese leader Xi Jinping. Taipei-based daily China Timesfeatured a photomontage of the two leaders, with the headline "Ma and Xi To Officially Meet — Time: Nov. 7 — Venue: Singapore."

There is both history and current electoral politics at stake in the meeting. President Ma's Kuomintang nationalist party, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan after losing the Chinese civil war in 1949. The Chinese Communist Party and the Nationalist party of Taiwan, which it officially calls the Republic of China (ROC), both claim to be the sole representative of China. Taiwan's opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) favors the recognition of the PRC as a sovereign country. It is unclear whether certain crucial questions, like China's estimated 2,000 missiles aimed at Taiwan, will be on the agenda.

"The two leaders are meeting now because both sides must confront internal and external changes," Zhao Chunshan, professor of Mainland China studies at Taiwan's Tamkang University told the Central News Agency of Taiwan. "Taiwan is holding a presidential election on Jan. 16. The issues concerning the "One China principle," and the maintenance of the status quo have caused huge debate."

Zhao also said that the geopolitical questions in the region, such as the South China Sea and East China Sea disputes, economic and trade issues such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement "also concern both countries' relations."

Ending his final year of office in his second and last mandate of four years, President Ma has been struggling with a 9% approval rating for the last two years ago. Last night upon hearing the news, Ke Chien-ming, a DPP leader in parliament criticized Ma. "How is a lame duck president, with half a year of his term left to run, able to represent Taiwan?"

Commentators debated the potential effect of President Ma's unexpected move on Taiwan's upcoming presidential election. And yet unlike such widespread coverage and analysis in Taiwan, on the Chinese side, only Xinhua News Agency published a standard press release about the Ma-Xi meeting. The text refers to Ma and Xi as "the two leaders of both sides of the strait," making sure to avoid the Taiwanese president's title.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Geopolitics

Why The 'Perfect Storm' Of Iran's Protests May Be Unstoppable

The latest round of anti-regime protests in Iran is different than other in the 40 years of the Islamic Republic: for its universality and boldness, the level of public fury and grief, and the role of women and social media. The target is not some policy or the economy, but the regime itself.

A woman holds a lock of her hair during a London rally to protest the murder of Mahsa Amini in London

Roshanak Astaraki

-Analysis-

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on Sept. 16, after a possible beating at a police station, has sparked outrage and mass protests in Iran and abroad. There have been demonstrations and a violent attempt to suppress them in more than 100 districts in every province of Iran.

These protests may look like others since 2017, and back even to 1999 — yet we may be facing an unprecedented turning point in Iranians' opposition to the Islamic Republic. Indeed newly installed conservative President Ibrahim Raisi could not have expected such momentum when he set off for a quick trip to New York and back for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

For one of the mistakes of a regime that takes pride in dismissing the national traditions of Iran is to have overlooked the power of grief among our people.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ