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  1. ITV Report

China and Taiwan leaders start historic meeting with handshake

Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou Photo: Reuters

The leaders of China and Taiwan have met for talks for the first time in more than 60 years.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou shook hands at the start of the talks in Singapore.

The talks come amid rising anti-Beijing sentiment on the self-ruled democratic island and weeks ahead of elections there.

China views Taiwan as a breakaway province which will one day be reunited with the mainland.

But many Taiwanese see it as independent and are concerned at China's growing influence.

The leaders sit down for talks Credit: Reuters

The talks are the first meeting since China's civil war ended in 1949, were held in Singapore.

According to Taiwan's Central News Agency, Mr Ma said before his departure from Taipei that he hoped the two leaders would take stock of bilateral relations in the past few years and look to the future.

He said that the meeting would help solidify peace across the Taiwan Strait and maintain what he calls the status quo.

Mr Ma and Mr Xi are meeting at the Shangri-la Hotel before having dinner together.

Activists protest against the meeting Credit: Reuters

In the Taiwanese capital Taipei, protesters gathered in front of the parliament building to demonstrate against the presidents' meeting because they believe it to be a precursor to Taiwan becoming part of China.