Former Taiwan President to Make Historic China Visit

Image copyright: AFP/Getty Images [via The Guardian]

The Facts

  • Taiwan’s former president, Ma Ying-jeou, will visit China next week in what will be the first trip of a sitting or former Taiwanese leader since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949 amid strained relations between Beijing and Taipei.

  • Ma's foundation stated on Sunday that, following a PRC invitation, the 12-day trip beginning March 27 will see him pay tribute to his ancestors during what is known as the "Tomb Sweeping Festival." He will also visit historical sites and educational centers in various cities along with a delegation of students from his foundation.


The Spin

Pro-establishment narrative

Ma's trip plays into the hands of the Chinese regime, which has been working to reclaim Taiwan since the Chinese Civil War. Taiwan plays a key role in Beijing's hegemonic ambitions as a springboard for dominating the Asia-Pacific region and challenging the US. At least since Tsai Ing-wen became president, Beijing has been gearing up for war against Taiwan; Washington and the world community must not let Ma's naïve trip blind them to the need to prepare for the worst.

Establishment-critical narrative

Given the increasingly hostile and hysterical US attempts to portray China as a threat, Ma's trip is a much-needed signal of détente. To preserve its hegemonic status, Washington, driven by the military-industrial complex, is using Taiwan to undermine China's growing status in the Indo-Pacific region. Taiwan must not allow itself to be turned into an outright tool of US interests and must view Ma's historic trip as an opportunity to resume direct dialogue with China.


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