Presidents of China and Taiwan meet for the first time since 1949

The two leaders will exchange their “positions” on bilateral issues, with the intention to “secure peace” , said spokesman Ma, Charles Chen, and said that no agreements will be signed or jointly.

Nationalist leader Chiang Kai-shek and his forces fled to Taiwan to set up a separate government in China after losing the civil war against Mao Zedong’s Communists in 1949. China still regards Taiwan as part of its territory , awaiting reunification .

Relations have improved since the arrival in power in Taiwan of Ma in 2008. His party, the Kuomintang (KMT), has links with Beijing.

Ma will leave office next year, after two presidential terms, the maximum legal year. The main opposition party, the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with a more suspicious attitude towards China, is the favorite to clinch victory in the January elections.

Taiwanese President spokesman said the aim of the meeting is “to ensure peace and maintain the status quo of the Taiwan Strait” , which separates the two countries. “Not any agreement signed or any common statement will spread,” he said.

A DPP spokesman told the local press that the party will not comment on the meeting until more details are known.