Former Taiwan President Ma leaves for China, likely to meet Xi -April 1, 2024 at 5:39 am

Former Taiwan President Ma leaves for China, likely to meet Xi -April 1, 2024 at 5:39 am
Former Taiwan President Ma leaves for China, likely to meet Xi -April 1, 2024 at 5:39 am

Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou left Monday for an 11-day trip to China, where he is expected to hold his second meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week, at a time of rising tensions across the Strait of Taiwan.

Ma, president from 2008 to 2016, became the first former Taiwanese leader to visit China last year. Since the defeated government of the Republic of China fled to Taiwan in 1949 after losing a civil war against Mao Zedong’s communists, no sitting Taiwanese leader has visited China.

China considers democratically governed Taiwan its own territory and has increased military and political pressure to assert those claims.

Ma met Xi in Singapore for a historic summit in late 2015, shortly before Taiwan’s current president, Tsai Ing-wen, won the election.

Ma and the Chinese government have not confirmed the meeting with Xi, which has been widely reported in Taiwanese media. Three sources familiar with Ma’s trip, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, told Reuters the meeting was expected to take place next Monday in Beijing.

“This is a journey of peace and friendship,” Ma told reporters in brief remarks at Taiwan’s airport before flying to the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen in Guangdong province.

Ma added that he hoped to convey the message that the people of Taiwan love peace and hope to avoid war.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, which calls him “Mr. Ma Ying-jeou” instead of former president because neither the Chinese nor Taiwanese governments recognize each other, would only say last week when asked about a meeting with Xi Wishing Mom a smooth journey.

Ma’s office said that during his visit to Guangdong, he will visit Chinese electric vehicle giant BYD and Tencent, the world’s largest video game company and operator of Chinese messaging platform WeChat.

Ma remains a senior member of Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), which lost its third consecutive presidential election in January, but has no official party position.

The KMT advocates close ties with China and dialogue, but denies being strongly pro-Beijing.

Tsai and her ruling Democratic Progressive Party have repeatedly offered talks with China but have been rejected because Beijing sees them as dangerous separatists.

Tsai says only the people of Taiwan can decide its future. Her government is strongly opposed to China’s sovereignty claims. (Reporting by Ben Blanchard and Yimou Lee; Editing by Michael Perry)

The article is in Dutch

Tags: Taiwan President leaves China meet April


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