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Xi Jinping meets Taiwan’s Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing, 9 years after Singapore handshake

Chinese leader Xi Jinping met former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing on Wednesday. Their last meeting was in Singapore in 2015, marking the first cross-strait summit since the 1949 split after a civil war.



BEIJING: Chinese leader Xi Jinping held rare talks on Wednesday (10 April) with former Taiwanese president Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing, marking the first instance of a serving or former leader from the self-governed island meeting with the top leadership in mainland China.

The pair’s last meeting occurred in Singapore in November 2015, during Ma’s tenure, representing the inaugural cross-strait summit since the split in 1949 following a civil war.

The notable moment from that meeting was an 80-second handshake preceding their closed-door discussions.

These discussions come as Ma concludes an 11-day “journey of peace” to the mainland, reminiscent of his significant visit just over a year ago.

Despite prolonged cross-strait tensions, both Xi and Ma, in their opening remarks in front of the press, aimed to strike a conciliatory tone.

President Xi referred to his guest as “Mister Ma,” asserting that foreign interference cannot impede the historic trend of reunification and that no issue is insurmountable.

In response, Mr Ma, who led Taiwan from 2008 to 2016, addressed Xi as “General Secretary Xi,” emphasized the unbearable nature of war between the two sides, expressing confidence in their ability to avert conflict.

“War between the two sides would be unbearable, and the two sides of the [Taiwan] strait have the wisdom to avoid conflict,” Mr Ma said.

During his visit, the former leader of Taiwan’s main opposition party, the Beijing-friendly Kuomintang, is leading a group of Taiwanese students on a cultural exchange, mirroring activities from his visit last year.

 Starting from Shenzhen on 1 April, Ma toured several cities including Guangzhou, Zhuhai, and Xian before heading to Beijing.

Upon arrival, the 73-year-old visited the former residence of Sun Yat-sen, the founding father of modern China.

Ma’s visit occurs amid escalating cross-strait tensions, particularly as William Lai Ching-te of the independence-leaning ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is set to assume office as Taiwan’s president in just over a month.

Lai has been branded by Beijing as a “separatist” capable of instigating conflict on the island. These tensions have not only affected regional dynamics but also complicated relations between the United States and China.

President Xi has repeatedly cautioned US President Joe Biden that Taiwan represents a “red line” for Beijing and the “most sensitive issue” in Sino-American relations.

Mr Ma downplays “dictator” label for Xi Jinping

In a January interview this year, before Taiwan’s Election, Mr Masparked controversy by asserting that, regarding cross-strait relations, Taiwan must place trust in Xi Jinping.

This statement unfolded during an interview with DW News. when Tsou Tzung-han, DW Taipei Bureau Chief, asked Ma whether Xi Jinping is a dictator, as per Joe Biden’s characterization, Ma responded that the term is not particularly crucial in the context of cross-strait relations.

“Because we have to create a situation that we can deal with each other peacefully without having to use force. ”

“And that is probably more important than any other rhetoric you have,” Mr Ma told the journalist.

Mr Tsou then asked, “So you think  you can trust him (Xi Jinping)?”

Mr Ma replied, “As far as cross-strait relations, you have to.”

He also warned that Taiwan would face a resounding defeat in a direct military conflict with China.

Beijing views Taiwan as an integral part of its territory, anticipating reunification even if it requires force.

Although the United States, along with most nations, does not officially recognize Taiwan as independent, it strongly opposes any forcible annexation and maintains its commitment to providing the island with military support.

During Mr Ma’s presidency, cross-strait relations significantly improved. He continues to wield influence within Taiwan’s Beijing-friendly faction and holds a prominent position within the KMT.

The meeting between Ma and Xi in Singapore occurred amidst escalating anti-mainland sentiment in Taiwan preceding the presidential elections in January 2016. Those elections resulted in the victory of the DPP’s Tsai Ing-wen, who concludes her two-term presidency in May.

The discussions between Xi and Ma in Singapore encompassed various topics, including the advancement of cross-strait relations and the “1992 consensus.”

The “1992 consensus” denotes an implicit understanding reached between negotiators from the Communist Party and the KMT, acknowledging the existence of one China while permitting differing interpretations. Tsai has rejected this consensus and has pursued closer ties with the United States, exacerbating tensions across the strait.

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Good leh, now they can become Heibai Wuchang together.

Haha888hahahaha, … all like minded communists will always have time and find time for another !!!