Former Taiwanese President, Ma Ying-jeou has begun his historic visit to China. The visit comes amidst preparations by the current Taiwanese President, Tsai Ing-wen, to travel to Latin America and the United States. Ma has indicated that he will not meet with senior Chinese officials, and his visit marks the first by a Taiwanese leader to China since 1949.
The visit is expected to spark significant interest amongst political observers, given the complex relationship between China and Taiwan. The two counties have a complex relationship that has been marked by tensions and occasional hostility.
Ma’s visit, however, comes at a time when there have been some signs of thawing in relations. President Xi Jinping has previously made overtures towards Taiwan, calling for greater economic cooperation and closer ties.
Observers will be watching closely to see if Ma’s visit can help to build on these positive steps and foster greater dialogue and cooperation between China and Taiwan. However, there are significant challenges to be overcome in this regard, including issues around Taiwan’s sovereignty and the role of the Chinese Communist Party.
Despite these challenges, however, there are many who believe that increased dialogue and cooperation between China and Taiwan could be hugely beneficial, both for the two countries themselves and for regional stability more broadly.
Only time will tell whether or not Ma’s visit will be viewed as a significant step forward in this regard. Whatever the outcome, however, it is clear that the relationship between China and Taiwan will continue to be one of the key issues shaping regional politics for many years to come.