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World News| Former Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou will visit China

Streaks of light seen in California. (Image source: video capture)

TAIPEI (Taiwan) March 20 (AP) — Taiwan’s former president, Ma Ying-jeou, will visit China next week in a trip a spokesman said was aimed at easing tensions between the self-governing island and the mainland.

Ma presided over a period of friendly relations with Beijing, but left under cloudy conditions after a trade deal with the mainland failed to win approval amid the island’s biggest protests since the 1990s.

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Ma’s proposed visit to Taiwan comes as the People’s Liberation Army sends fighter jets to the island on an almost daily basis and official communication between the two governments has been cut off.

China’s ruling government claims Taiwan as part of its territory, but Taiwan’s current government says it is already a sovereign state that is not part of China.

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Ma, a member of the opposition KMT (KMT), will lead a delegation of academics and students as well as his former presidential staff from March 27 to April 7, his office said on Sunday.

President Tsai Ing-wen’s office said Ma Ying-jeou had informed the office of his plans on Monday and that they “hope Ma Ying-jeou, as a former head of state … can demonstrate Taiwan’s values ​​of democracy and freedom and Taiwan’s stand for equality and dignity in cross-strait exchanges.” “

Xiao Xuzhen, chairman of the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation, said at a news conference in Taipei on Monday that he would visit Nanjing, Wuhan and Changsha, among other cities.

Xiao also announced that he would bring Taiwanese college students to meet with students from Fudan University in Shanghai and Hunan University in Changsha.

“He strongly believed that allowing young people to communicate would help ease tensions as the two sides of the strait have been deadlocked in recent years,” said Xiao, referring to the former president. “I think no matter how many weapons we buy, it is better for young people on both sides to understand each other and deepen exchanges.”

Xiao said Jack Ma would not go to Beijing, the capital of China.

The visit was also confirmed by the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council of China.

During Ma Yun’s tenure, Taiwan’s exchanges with the mainland have increased. Chinese tourists flocked to Taiwan in 2010 as Jack Ma negotiated a trade deal with Beijing.

As the two sides open their borders to each other, fears have grown that Taiwan will inevitably fall into Beijing’s orbit, culminating in nationwide protests over a proposed 2014 trade deal with Beijing. The protests, dubbed the “Sunflower Movement,” sparked a rally that drew more than 200,000 protesters and saw students occupy Taiwan’s parliament for 24 days.

Ma met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Singapore in 2015, when he was still in office. It was the first meeting between the two leaders since Taiwan was split from mainland China during the Chinese civil war in 1949, but was seen as more symbolic than substantive.

When the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party won national elections in 2016, Beijing severed ties with the Taiwanese government, citing Tsai’s refusal to endorse the idea of ​​Taiwan and China as one country. (Associated Press)

(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from a Syndicated News feed, the content body may not have been modified or edited by LatestLY staff)

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