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U.S. welcomes steps by both sides of Taiwan Strait to improve ties

WASHINGTON, Nov. 3 -- Commenting on the upcoming historic meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Taiwan's leader Ma Ying-jeou, the United States said Tuesday it welcomes steps by both sides to improve cross-Strait ties.

"So ... we would certainly welcome steps ... that are taken on both sides of the Taiwan Strait to try to reduce tensions and improve cross-Strait relations," White House spokesman Josh Earnest told a daily news briefing.

The spokesman was responding to a question about the planned meeting between Xi and Ma in Singapore on Saturday, the first between leaders of both sides since 1949.

Describing the meeting as a "milestone in cross-Strait relations," Zhang Zhijun, head of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said the two leaders will exchange views on promoting the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.

"The fundamental interest of the United States is in a stable and peaceful cross-Strait relationship," Earnest said.

The United States remains committed to its one-China policy that's based on the three joint communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act, he said.

Echoing the White House, the U.S. State Department said that the United States welcomes the Xi-Ma meeting as Washington "has a deep and abiding interest in peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait."

State Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said the benefits that stable and positive cross-Strait ties have brought to both sides of the Taiwan Strait, the United States and the region "have been enormous."