Taiwan opposition leader says surprise Ma-Xi meeting harms island's democracy

Taiwan's main opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen gives a speech before their central standing committee in Taipei, Taiwan, November 4, 2015. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan opposition leader and presidential frontrunner Tsai Ing-wen on Wednesday lambasted the planned meeting between China’s and Taiwan’s leaders set for Saturday in Singapore.

Chinese President Xi Jinping will hold talks with Taiwanese counterpart Ma Ying-jeou on Saturday, the first meeting of leaders from the two rivals since the Chinese civil war ended in 1949.

“Last night, suddenly there was this news of the Ma-Xi meeting. I believe people across the country, like me, felt very surprised,” Tsai Ing-wen, chairwoman of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), said in prepared remarks to reporters and top party members.

“A meeting of the leaders of the two sides across the strait is a great event, involving the dignity and national interests of Taiwan. But to let the people know in such a hasty and chaotic manner is damaging to Taiwan’s democracy.”

Reporting by J.R. Wu; Editing by Nick Macfie