The visit of Taiwan’s former leader to China will include Central China, not Beijing.
Taiwan’s former leader, Ma Ying-jeou, is set to arrive today on March 27 in China’s mainland, the debut visit of any former leader of Taiwan to the mainland since 1949.
The Taiwanese politician who served as president of Taiwan from 2008 to 2016, said in 2019 that he had long wanted to visit mainland China, despite “working on cross-Straits relations” for decades.
Ma Ying-jeou is scheduled to begin his 12-day visit to mainland China in Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province, on Monday.
The Taiwanese politician’s trip to China will involve stopovers in Wuhan, Changsha, Chongqing, and Shanghai, according to the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation.
Ma’s trip is intended to facilitate student exchanges and to enable the ex-regional leader to pay his respects to the graves of his ancestors in China, according to Ma Ying-jeou Foundation director, Hsiao Hsu-tsen.
He also emphasized that “there is no itinerary in Beijing and no meeting with mainland leaders, including Xi Jinping… The trip is to central China, we have not arranged to go to Beijing.”
Ma Ying-jeou himself was cited as saying, “exchanges between young people from the mainland and Taiwan have been on hold for years, and I hope to take the opportunity of this visit to boost interaction between youths of both sides.”
It is worth emphasizing that during a speech before the National People’s Congress (NPC), China’s legislative body, Xi said earlier in March that his government would actively promote the “peaceful development” of cross-strait relations and “unswervingly” promote reunification with Taiwan.
Furthermore, the new Chinese premier, Li Qiang, also emphasized that Chinese people on both sides of the strait were “one family” and restoration of normal trade and exchange across the waterway was “everyone’s common expectation and requires joint efforts”.
Last month, a senior leader of Taiwan’s largest opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), visited China and met with China’s top Taiwan policymaker, his party announced on February 6th.
The KMT had announced that its vice chairman, Andrew Hsia, would travel to China to meet with Song Tao, the recently appointed head of China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, in a rare high-level meeting between Taiwan and China’s senior lawmakers.
The KMT has long supported tight ties with China, and Hsia’s visit was welcomed by China’s Taiwan Affairs Office.