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In a historic moment, the leaders from China and Taiwan met over the weekend in Singapore. For the first time since 1949, the presidents from each country met and posed for a very symbolic handshake-lasting a full 80 seconds, according to NPR. The countries had not met face to face since the end of the Chinese Civil War, when the victorious communists drove out the Nationalists to settle in Taipei. Ever since, leaders in Beijing have refused to acknowledge Taiwan's sovereignty. Instead, they have viewed Taiwan as an extension of the People's Republic of China.
The meeting did not produce a great amount of tangible outcomes. The very fact that the meeting took place at all was extremely noteworthy. One of the few substantial deals made included Taiwan joining China's Asian Infrastructure Bank. Leaders also discussed setting up a "hotline" communication channel to keep conversations progressing in the future.
The deliberate timing placed the meeting just months before Taiwan's presidential election. President Ma Ying-jeou is experiencing dismal approval ratings. Ma belongs to the Nationalist Kuomintang party, which has been losing popularity as anti-Chinese sentiment is on the rise in Taiwan. As of now, it's unclear how any re-opened communication channels would come into play, should a pro-Taiwanese independence party win the presidential election.
The Chinese Revolution and Creation of Taiwan: History & Timeline (study.com)
"In this lesson we explore the long struggle between the Kuomintang and the Chinese Communist Party before, during, and after WWII, and the subsequent creation of Taiwan after the communist victory."
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Time for the US to Get Clear on Taiwan Arms Sales (thediplomat.com)
"Just as President George W. Bush raised doubts with a much-criticized "freeze" on arms sales to Taiwan, President Barack Obama has raised questions about his adherence to the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act (TRA)."
The scope of the Taiwan Policy Act (taipeitimes.com)
"On Aug. 1, the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed a bill entitled the Taiwan Policy Act."