• 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.
  • Ma's office did not comment on whether he would meet with senior Chinese officials or with Pres. Xi Jinping, whom the senior member of Taiwan's Kuomintang Party (KMT) last met in Singapore in 2015 — shortly before successor Tsai Ing-wen became Taiwan's president. The KMT insists on maintaining dialogue with China amid bilateral tensions.
  • While Tsai's Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) views Taiwan as an independent country, Taiwan's opposition KMT considers it part of a Chinese nation. During his terms as Taiwan's president between 2008 and 2016, Ma agreed to the one-China principle — although interpretations of what that entails differ.
  • During Ma's presidency, ties between Beijing and the self-governing nation improved, with the then-president negotiating a trade package with China in 2010. After the DPP's election victory in 2016, Beijing broke off relations with Taiwan's government.
  • Ma's China trip is reportedly set to coincide with a visit by Tsai to the US, where she is due to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy. A visit by his predecessor, Nancy Pelosi, to the self-ruled nation in August 2022 led to a new low in Sino-Taiwanese relations.


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.

Nerd narrative

There’s a 58% chance that the Democratic Progressive Party will win the 2024 Taiwanese presidential election, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

Establishment split



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