Home/ News / World/  Former Taiwan leader departs for China, ahead of President's visit to US

Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou began his China visit on Monday in a move that is seen to reduce tensions, a day after Taiwan lost one of its major allies. Ma Ying is visiting the country in a private capacity with his family and a delegation of academics and college students for exchanges will also accompany him. 

Although Ma's policies succeeded in bringing Taiwan and China closer than ever before, his departure from office was marred by widespread protests against a trade agreement with mainland China.

Since taking office, his successor, Tsai Ing-wen has prioritized strengthening ties with the United States and safeguarding the autonomy of Taiwan, which is governed democratically but is claimed by China as its own territory.

The ex-President's visit is coming at a time when the tensions between Taiwan and China are at an all-time high with Chinese fighter jets frequently intruding into Taiwan's airspace and Taiwan hosting leaders from the United States.

“I hope through the enthusiasm of the youth and their interactions to improve the cross-strait mood, so bring peace faster, and earlier," Ma told reporters while departing for his first visit to China.

The visit comes ahead of Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen's 10-day diplomatic outreach to remaining allies of the island nation in Latin America. The President is expected to start her visit on Wednesday and will also visit the United States, a move that can further irk China.

On Saturday, Tsai Ing-wen visited army engineers and reviewed their training. The President was also accompanied by Taiwan's Defence Minister Chiu Kuo-cheng and National Security Council Secretary-General Wellington Koo.

"Protecting Taiwan and defending democracy has always been our military's great mission," she told the soldiers.

"I believe that only by continuously training and strengthening the military's war preparedness can we be even more able to protect our home and defend our country," Tsai added.

(With inputs from agencies)


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Updated: 27 Mar 2023, 02:50 PM IST
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