A strong, vigorous handshake that lasted more than a minute marked the historic first meeting between the leader of the People's Republic of China and the leader of Taiwan, which has been the home of the government of the Republic of China since its defeat by the Communists in the Chinese civil war in 1949.

"Blood is thicker than water," declared Chinese President Xi Jinping, using a Western proverb that has become absorbed into the Chinese vocabulary, especially in describing relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.

"We are all descendants of the Chinese people," declared Ma Ying-jeou, the Taiwan leader. "We should cooperate together and rejuvenate the Chinese nation."