Former president Ma to be first Taiwan leader to visit China since 1948
China on Monday welcomed the upcoming visit of former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou to the mainland later this month
China on Monday welcomed the upcoming visit of former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou to the mainland later this month, the first time a former or current leader of the island is visiting the country after the defeated Republic of China government fled to the island in 1949.
Ma’s visit, which was announced by his office in Taiwan late on Sunday night, comes in the backdrop of tension between Beijing and Taipei as China rapidly escalates military activity around the self-ruled democracy to put pressure over Taiwan to accept the mainland’s sovereignty.
Calling it a breakaway region, Beijing has never ruled out the use of force to merge it with the mainland.
Ma will pay homage to ancestors ahead of the Qingming or Tomb Sweeping festival when Chinese hold prayer meetings to offer respect to ancestors.
Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson of the mainland’s Taiwan office, said it welcomes Ma to pay homage to his ancestors and lead a student exchange programme.
Former president Ma’s office in Taiwan said that he would visit China from March 27 to April 7 and go to the cities of Nanjing, Wuhan, Changsha, Chongqing and Shanghai, located in central, southwest China and eastern China.
According to the Ma Ying-jeou Culture and Education Foundation, Ma’s trip to China is “…aimed at worshipping his ancestors during the upcoming Qingming or Tomb Sweeping Festival, and he will lead a delegation comprised of Taiwanese students to make exchanges with their Chinese counterparts, as well as visit historical sites related to the Revolution of 1911 led by Republic of China (ROC) Founding Father Sun Yat-sen, and the Sino-Japanese War from 1937-1945”.
Last month the KMT’s deputy chairman Andrew Hsia visited Beijing and met senior CPC party leader Wang Huning, member of the CPC politburo standing committee.