Xi meets former Taiwanese President Ma in Beijing


By John

The Chinese president Xi Jinping received the former Taiwanese president in Beijing Ma Ying-jeou (2008-2016), responsible for the largest rapprochement between China and Taiwan since the end of the Civil War in 1949.
The meeting emulates the historic summit held by both in Singapore in 2015, but in a different context due to increased tensions between Taipei and Beijing, which claims sovereignty over the island.
But, former president of the Kuomintang (KMT) party, now in opposition, he is in China for a tour that included activities in various cities, including Beijing. In recent days, the Taiwanese press had anticipated the meeting between Ma and Xi, who received him as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), the Xinhua agency underlines today, clarifying the unofficial nature of the visit.
In March 2023, Ma became the first former Taiwanese president to travel to the People's Republic of China, a visit in which he called for more exchanges between Chinese and Taiwanese students because they “share the same culture and ethnic identity.” The Taiwanese press has underlined that the visit has no major political objectives other than to protect Ma's “legacy” as a former president, and experts believe it is “unlikely” that it will help calm tensions across the Strait.
For his part, the Chinese executive welcomed the trip and expressed his “hope” that “compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait will promote China's rich cultural heritage”, viewing the trip as “an opportunity to strengthen 'mutual' understanding”.
Ma's visit comes just a month and a half before the island's president-elect and current vice president, William Lai (Lai Ching-te), considered a “supporter of independence” in Beijing's eyes, takes over as president.