Ma Ying-jeou’s mainland China journey reveals he’s Beijing’s finest hope to win Taiwanese hearts and minds – Cyber Information

“Regardless that our political methods and views might differ from these of the mainland, we’re all descendants of the Yellow Emperor, belonging to the identical Chinese language nation,” Ma mentioned upon returning to Taiwan on Thursday, wrapping up a visit he dubbed a “journey of peace”.

“I additionally hope that the younger individuals of Taiwan can put aside ideological variations and recognise the historic and cultural connections between Taiwan and the mainland, which can’t be severed by politics.”

President Xi Jinping (proper) shakes fingers with former Taiwan chief Ma Ying-jeou on the Nice Corridor of the Folks in Beijing on Wednesday. Picture: EPA-EFE/Xinhua
He added that his journey confirmed it was nonetheless potential for the “1992 consensus” to function a foundation for addressing disputes between Beijing and Taipei. The consensus is a tacit settlement that for the 2 sides to proceed to speak, they need to recognise there is just one China, although either side can have its personal interpretation of what which means.

Analysts imagine Ma’s journey may assist Beijing amply its message that it’s nonetheless looking for peaceable reunification with Taiwan, regardless of souring tensions which have unnerved regional powers and the West.

Additionally they mentioned the go to sends a well-timed message to Taiwanese president-elect William Lai Ching-te of the independence-leaning DPP. Beijing-sceptic Lai shall be inaugurated subsequent month, taking on from Tsai Ing-wen, additionally of the DPP.

“These appeals are important to the peaceable cross-strait reunification desired by Xi Jinping,” mentioned Max Lo, govt director of Taiwan Worldwide Strategic Examine Society, a Taipei suppose tank.

“Such appeals additionally make [Ma] the only option for the mainland to ask for a go to, although he now not holds any authorities or political occasion workplace and is a non-public citizen,” Lo mentioned.

No pressure can separate us, Xi Jinping tells Taiwan’s Ma in historic Beijing talks

James Yifan Chen, a professor of diplomacy and worldwide relations at Tamkang College in New Taipei, mentioned Xi needed to “reveal his capabilities in managing cross-strait relations by inviting Ma to Beijing and providing him leader-like protocol in recognition of the shared legacies throughout their overlapping tenures”.

Ma met Xi for the primary time in Singapore in 2015 – a yr earlier than he ended his second time period as Taiwan’s president.

Chen mentioned the therapy Ma acquired on the newest journey was a “typical strategy” Beijing used to point out appreciation for “outdated buddies”.

He added that Ma nonetheless had loyal supporters in Taiwan, and his “three noes” coverage – no unification, no independence and no use of pressure – represented the “established order throughout his presidency and has remained the mainstream opinion” till at the moment.

Zhu Songling, a Taiwan affairs specialist at Beijing Union College, mentioned though Ma was now not on the political entrance strains and his affect had declined, he was nonetheless thought of the chief of Taiwan’s pro-unification camp.

Through the run-up to Taiwan’s presidential election in January, Ma led efforts to forge a joint ticket between the KMT and the Beijing-friendly Taiwan Folks’s Social gathering to problem the DPP. However the deal collapsed in late November amid a dispute over who would head the joint ticket.

‘No losers in peace’: Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou sends anti-war message in Beijing

Ma was given VIP therapy throughout his 11-day go to, which took him to Beijing and the provinces of Guangdong and Shaanxi. He was acquired by senior officers, together with Taiwan Affairs Workplace director Tune Tao, in addition to native authorities and Communist Social gathering heads.

On Wednesday, Xi hosted Ma on the Nice Corridor of the Folks in Beijing, a venue sometimes reserved for overseas leaders to satisfy with the mainland chief and senior officers. Ma additionally had dinner with Xi.

“Ma Ying-jeou has characterised this journey as a journey of peace. He represents the voices of those that go for cross-strait peace and growth – which is the mainstream opinion in Taiwan,” Zhu mentioned.

Zhu added that voices like Ma’s would assist enhance Beijing’s confidence in forging peaceable cross-strait unification.

He mentioned the Xi-Ma assembly got here at a “very beneficial” time for each side to “calmly and rationally convey correct public opinion” and perform cross-strait dialogue as Taiwan was about to get a brand new president and Washington was additionally looking for hotter ties with Beijing.

Of their talks, Xi mentioned: “Compatriots on the 2 sides are each Chinese language. There is no such thing as a grudge that can not be resolved, no drawback that can not be talked by way of.”

Xi additionally mentioned variations in political methods couldn’t change the truth that the 2 sides have been one nation. “International interference” can not cease the historic development of a “household reunion”, he mentioned.

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Former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou requires each side of Taiwan Strait to ‘keep away from struggle’

Former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou requires each side of Taiwan Strait to ‘keep away from struggle’

Ma responded with a message of peace, saying, “If there’s struggle, it will be insufferable to the Chinese language nation, and the 2 sides have the knowledge to deal with their disputes peacefully.”

He known as for each side to “respect the values and methods of lifetime of their individuals”, saying current cross-strait tensions had “triggered a way of insecurity among the many public in Taiwan”.

“Ma continues to be Beijing’s best choice to attach the 2 sides of the Taiwan Strait,” mentioned Stephen Tan, managing director of Worldwide Coverage Advisory Group, a Taipei-based geopolitical danger and coverage consulting agency.

“By way of Ma’s go to and his assembly with Xi, Beijing has despatched out a transparent message to Taiwan and the world that the 2 sides belong to 1 China and peaceable unification continues to be an choice, whereas nationwide and financial integration are inevitable tendencies,” Tan mentioned.

Chao Chun-shan, a retired professor of mainland China research at Tamkang College, mentioned the message was additionally meant for Lai forward of his inauguration subsequent month.

He mentioned the talks between Xi and Ma offered perception for Lai about cross-strait peace.

Ma’s go to comes at a time of heightened cross-strait tensions. Whereas Ma had a coverage of engagement with the mainland as president, relations have soured since Tsai took workplace in 2016, with Beijing chopping off communication with Taipei after Tsai refused to just accept the 1992 consensus.

“It’s as much as Lai to determine whether or not he ought to modify his cross-strait coverage to uphold steady cross-strait relations,” Chao mentioned.

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Beijing – which sees Taiwan as a part of its territory awaiting reunification, by pressure if vital – has been deeply essential of Lai, labelling him a “troublemaker” and an “obstinate separatist” who may convey struggle to the island.

The USA, like most international locations, doesn’t recognise Taiwan as an unbiased state however opposes any try to take it by pressure and stays dedicated to supplying it with weapons.

Chao mentioned that if Lai selected to “stay ambiguous on the Chinese language nation and id points”, Beijing was anticipated to accentuate its strain in opposition to Taiwan.

Lo, of the Taipei suppose tank, mentioned the go to additionally mirrored Beijing’s hopes to enhance cross-strait hyperlinks by way of youth exchanges.

In Shenzhen, Ma took the scholars to go to drone maker DJI, tech and video video games big Tencent and electrical automobile maker BYD.

Tencent and BYD rank among the many world’s prime 500 corporations, whereas DJI has captured 70 per cent of the worldwide drone market.

Ma spent three days within the southern province of Guangdong, the place he led the scholars in paying respects on the Huanghuagang Martyrs Cemetery and visited the previous residence of Solar Yat-sen, the founder of contemporary China.

Within the northwest province of Shaanxi, he attended a ceremony to honour the Yellow Emperor, a legendary ancestor of the Chinese language individuals, and visited Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s mausoleum and different historic websites.

In Beijing, Ma and the scholars visited the historic Marco Polo Bridge, the place the primary pictures have been fired within the Japanese invasion of China.

“There are not any winners in struggle, and there are not any losers in peace,” he mentioned, including “errors in struggle could also be forgiven, however historic reality can’t be forgotten”.

On the Nice Wall in Beijing on Tuesday, Ma led the scholars in singing a patriotic tune in regards to the battle in opposition to the Japanese throughout World Conflict II.

Lo mentioned the Taiwanese college students’ first-hand observations and their interactions with locals throughout the journey may problem their stereotypes of mainland China.

“Younger individuals in Taiwan have more and more recognized themselves as Taiwanese and deal with the mainland because the enemy because of the DPP authorities’s long-time coverage of distancing Taiwan’s historic hyperlinks with the mainland. They’ve been taught mainland China is poor and backward,” Lo mentioned.

‘Arduous to foretell’ Beijing’s subsequent strikes in the direction of Taiwan underneath Lai, analysts say

In response to surveys, greater than 60 per cent of the island’s individuals establish as Taiwanese, in contrast with 30 per cent who view themselves as each Taiwanese and Chinese language. Simply 3 per cent establish solely as Chinese language.

Nevertheless, 40 per cent of Taiwanese say they’ve an emotional connection to mainland China, in accordance with a survey by Washington-based Pew Analysis Centre performed late final yr.

Zhu Feng, a professor of worldwide relations at Nanjing College, mentioned it will take time and steady effort to vary public opinion in Taiwan.

“However in contrast with different age teams, Taiwanese youth are comparatively extra proactive,” he mentioned, suggesting that younger individuals can be extra keen to vary their views in the event that they visited the mainland extra usually.

Beijing additionally hopes the KMT can function a guardrail in opposition to Taiwan independence, analysts mentioned.

“Although the KMT has turn out to be more and more Taiwan-centric in contrast with the previous, remaining pleasant with the mainland to advertise cross-strait peace and oppose Taiwan independence continues to be its main coverage,” Lo mentioned.

As the most important opposition occasion, the KMT is keen to assist preserve the DPP from pushing the envelope in its quest for independence, Lo mentioned.

He mentioned after Ma’s journey, Beijing was reported to have invited extra KMT heavyweights to go to.

Ex-Taipei mayor Hau Lung-bin, additionally a former KMT vice-chairman, left for mainland China on Wednesday to participate in a ceremony to honour the Yellow Emperor within the central province of Henan.

Sean Lien, the incumbent KMT vice-chairman, will go to the mainland to attend the Cross-Strait Discussion board in June, whereas the occasion’s former chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu will lead 200 younger Taiwanese in a visit to the japanese province of Zhejiang, in accordance with the KMT.

Tan of the Worldwide Coverage Advisory Group mentioned though the KMT misplaced the presidential election three consecutive instances, “nobody may rule out a KMT comeback sooner or later as energy transitions are widespread in Taiwan’s democracy”.

Extra reporting by Amber Wang

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