Nov 20, 2015 11:21 AM

Smoking the Peace Pipe during a Cross-Strait Pow-Wow

The rendezvous of Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou on November 7 made history, as the leaders of the mainland and Taiwan held hands in photo ops and talked behind closed doors in Singapore. Apart from the symbolism, the carefully choreographed meeting reaffirms the framework for engagement across the Taiwan Strait.

In separate pledges, Messrs Xi and Ma upheld the "92 Consensus," in which representatives of the two sides agreed to the "one China" principle, but reserved the right to interpret the meaning of the term on their own. In practice, it connotes no reunification, no independence and no armed conflict, at least in the short to medium term. Despite a denial by Taiwan's pro-independence activists that a "consensus" ever existed, the mutual understanding has underpinned the cross-strait status quo for over two decades.

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