Taiwan's president has said that the democratic island is in no rush to enter into substantive political talks with mainland China, despite a call to do so by Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

Addressing journalists on Friday, Ma Ying-jeou said that "we have a principle of discussing easy matters before harder ones and economic issue before political ones," adding that one of the subjects currently under discussion between Taipei and Beijing — opening representative offices on each other's territory — did have a political component.

That statement appears to be an effort by Ma to deflect pressure from Beijing on the slow pace of political dialogue between the sides.

Taiwan and China split amid civil war in 1949. China still claims the democratic island as part of its territory.