The announcement of the first talks in 66 years between China's president and the leader of Taiwan this week was a surprise to some observers, who describe it as a further sign of Beijing's readiness to take risks.

They also say the meeting scheduled for Saturday between Chinese President Xi Jinping Taiwanese leader Ma Ying-jeou in Singapore may have implications for Japan.

Long a factory hub for Japanese companies, Taiwan has in recent years seen its low-cost manufacturing sector move to China, and a rapprochement could raise its competitiveness.