Taiwan's Former Pres. Ma Begins China Visit

Taiwan's Former Pres. Ma Begins China Visit
Last updated Mar 28, 2023
Image credit: Reuters


  • Taiwan's former Pres. Ma Ying-jeou on Monday kicked off a 12-day private trip to several cities in China amid strained relations between the self-ruled island and Beijing.[1]
  • Accompanied by a delegation of Taiwanese students, Ma said his trip was aimed at easing cross-strait tensions and promoting peace. Ma emphasized the importance of fostering people-to-people exchanges and also stated he would honor his ancestors.[2]
  • As the first former or sitting Taiwanese president to travel to the PRC since the end of the Chinese Civil War in 1949, Ma stressed that people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are ethnic Chinese sharing the same heritage.[3]
  • Ma, whose tenure from 2008 and 2016 saw improving relations with the PRC, will remain in mainland China until April 7 and will reportedly neither visit Beijing nor meet Chinese President Xi Jinping.[4]
  • The China visit by the senior member of Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party coincides with a trip slated for this week by his successor and current president, Tsai Ing-wen, to the US and remaining allies in Central America.[5]
  • Tsai became president after the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) won the 2016 national elections, prompting Beijing to sever ties with the Taiwanese government, citing Tsai's objection to Beijing's "One China" policy.[6]


Pro-China narrative

While Tsai and her secessionist DPP are in collusion with anti-PRC forces and have brought Taiwan to the brink of war, Ma's visit reflects the policies of his presidency and sends an important signal of détente. Taipei needs to understand that the US-promoted path of confrontation to maintain its crumbling hegemonic status in the Indo-Pacific is a dead end for the Chinese people. Only dialogue and appreciation of shared cultural roots will ultimately lead to cross-strait peace.

Anti-China narrative

Ma's trip plays into the hands of the PRC 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.

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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