Trying to Defuse the Situation, Former President of Taiwan Visits China. PHOTOS/Reuters
BEIJING – Ex president Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou tiba di China on Monday (27/3/2023). He embarked on the first cross-strait visit by an island leader or former leader in more than seven decades.
Ma’s 12-day trip will not involve official meetings, his office said. He focuses on paying homage to his ancestors and promoting youth exchange.
“I hope to improve the cross-strait atmosphere through the enthusiastic interactions of young people, so that peace can come to us faster and faster,” the 73-year-old said at the airport before his departure.
Ma arrived in Shanghai on Monday afternoon and was met at the airport by central government and city officials, China’s official Xinhua news agency reported.
The former president’s visit came one day after Honduras cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of Beijing. China has always claimed the self-ruled island as part of its territory and vowed to one day retake it.
In a statement on Monday, President Tsai Ing-wen’s Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) accused Ma of “supporting” Beijing’s policies with her visit.
“We should be more united. But it is regrettable that the KMT supported communist China and former president Ma ignored public disapproval to visit China at this time,” the party said.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 after a civil war that was won by the Communist Party, with the defeated nationalist Kuomintang (KMT) party fleeing to the island.
Ma is a senior leader of the KMT, which currently sits in the opposition in Taiwan and advocates for warmer relations with China, but denies being pro-Beijing. Taiwan will hold presidential elections next year, with the KMT and DPP the main contenders for the position.
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