Former Taiwan president heads to China pledging peace By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO-Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou attends an occasion in Taipei, Taiwan Could 15, 2018. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

By Fabian Hamacher and Ann Wang

TAOYUAN, Taiwan (Reuters) – Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou left for China on Monday on a landmark journey, saying he hoped to result in peace and enhance relations by means of the interactions of younger folks.

Ma, in workplace from 2008-2016, would be the first former or present Taiwanese president to go to China for the reason that defeated Republic of China authorities fled to Taiwan in 1949 on the finish of a civil warfare with the Communists, the place it stays to today.

The journey comes at a time of heightened tensions between Beijing and Taipei as China retains up army and political strain to try to get democratic Taiwan to simply accept Chinese language sovereignty.

Ma met Chinese language President Xi Jinping in Singapore in late 2015 shortly earlier than the present Taiwan president, Tsai Ing-wen, gained an election.

Chatting with reporters at Taiwan’s principal worldwide airport at Taoyuan, Ma, 73, mentioned he was “very glad” to be happening a visit the place he’ll discuss to college students and pay respects to the graves of his ancestors in China.

“Other than going to make choices to my ancestors, I’m additionally taking Taiwan college college students to the mainland for exchanges with them, hoping to enhance the present cross-strait environment by means of the keenness and interplay of younger folks, so peace can come even sooner and sooner to us right here,” he mentioned in brief remarks.

Ma is a senior member of Taiwan’s principal opposition social gathering, the Kuomintang (KMT), which favours shut ties with China though it strongly denies being pro-Beijing.

The KMT says outreach to China is required now greater than ever given the tensions throughout the Taiwan Strait.

China has rebuffed Tsai’s repeated requires talks, believing her to be a separatist. She says solely Taiwan’s folks can resolve their future.

Ma shouldn’t be scheduled to fulfill any senior Chinese language officers whereas there, however the head of his basis mentioned final week Ma will likely be “at his host’s disposal” in the event that they do prepare such a get-together.

Ma was met on the airport by each supporters and offended demonstrators from the pro-independence group Taiwan Republic Workplace, who have been solely allowed to point out their banners contained in the airport for a short interval earlier than being pushed out by police.

Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Social gathering criticised Ma for happening Monday, saying it was inappropriate given former long-time Taiwan ally Honduras had ended ties with Taipei in favour of Beijing the day earlier than.

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