By Sarah Newton-John • 28 March 2023 • 8:04
Taiwan and China are geographically close/Shutterstock Images
“People on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are Chinese people, and are both descendants of the Yan and Yellow Emperors,” Ma stated in comments provided by his office.
Most Taiwanese no longer identify as Chinese, according to polls.
Taiwan´s ruling party has criticized the visit, which is taking place amid heightened tensions as Beijing uses whatever political and military means it can to try and pressure democratically governed Taiwan into accepting Chinese sovereignty.
Ma, in office from 2008-2016, is the first former (or current) leader in Taiwan to visit China since the defeated Republic of China government fled to Taiwan in 1949 at the end of a civil war with the Communists.
Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party has questioned why he is visiting just days after China took away another Taiwanese diplomatic ally, Honduras, on Sunday, leaving the island with official diplomatic ties with only 13 countries.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has repeatedly offered talks with China, but has been rejected as China considers her a separatist. She says only Taiwan’s people can decide their future.
“We sincerely hope that the two sides will work together to pursue peace, avoid war, and strive to revitalise China,” Ma said.
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