Internet InfoMedia a former president of taiwan visits china
Internet InfoMedia 01china taiwan clbp facebookJumbo

A rare visit to mainland China by Ma Ying-jeou, who’s now in the opposition, is a chance for political messaging on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

As tensions fester between China and Taiwan, one elder politician from the island democracy is getting an effusive welcome on the mainland: Ma Ying-jeou, a former president.

Mr. Ma’s 11-day trip across China, which was set to begin on Monday, comes at a fraught time. Beijing and Taipei have been in dispute over two Chinese fishermen who died while trying to flee a Taiwanese coast guard vessel in February, and China has sent its own coast guard ships close to a Taiwanese-controlled island near where the men died.

Taiwanese officials expect China to intensify its military intimidation once the island’s next president, Lai Ching-te, takes office on May 20. His Democratic Progressive Party rejects Beijing’s claim that Taiwan is part of China, and Chinese officials particularly dislike Mr. Lai, often citing his 2017 description of himself as a “pragmatic worker for Taiwan’s independence.”

On the other hand, China’s warm treatment of Mr. Ma, 73, Taiwan’s president from 2008 to 2016, seems a way to emphasize that Beijing will keep an open door for politicians who favor closer ties and accept its conditions for talks.

“Beijing’s policy toward Taiwan will definitely be using more of both a gentle touch but also a hard fist,” Chang Wu-yue, a professor at the Graduate Institute of China Studies of Tamkang University in Taiwan, said in an interview about Mr. Ma’s visit.

Mr. Ma with China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, in Singapore in 2015.Fazry Ismail/EPA, via Shutterstock

We are having trouble retrieving the article content.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser settings.


Thank you for your patience while we verify access. If you are in Reader mode please exit and log into your Times account, or subscribe for all of The Times.


Thank you for your patience while we verify access.

Already a subscriber? Log in.

Want all of The Times? Subscribe.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *