Taiwan's former president Ma Ying-jeou arrived in China on Monday (March 27) for the first visit in more than seven decades by a leader, in office or outgoing, of the island that Beijing claims, a trip that the party majority in Taipei deemed it "
This twelve-day visit does not provide for official meetings, warned the office of Ma Ying-jeou, whose objective is above all to pay homage to his ancestors and to promote youth exchanges.
May peace come faster and sooner to us.
Ma Ying-jeou, former Taiwanese president
Upon leaving Taipei airport, the 73-year-old former president said he hoped to "
improve the atmosphere of the strait
" through the "
enthusiastic interactions of young people, so that peace can come faster and sooner until later." 'to us
Ma Ying-jeou is one of the main leaders of the Kuomintang (KMT), which currently sits in opposition in Taiwan and advocates closer ties with China, while denying being favorable to Beijing.
He was greeted at Shanghai airport by central government and municipal officials, the state-run Xinhua News Agency reported.
His trip comes the day after Honduras decided to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan, in favor of Beijing, which considers the island to be an integral part of its territory to be recovered one day.
It is unfortunate that the KMT sides with the Chinese Communists.
Progressive Democratic Party
The majority Taiwanese party of President Tsai Ing-wen accused Ma Ying-jeou of “
” Chinese policy towards Taiwan with this visit.
We need to be more united...but it's unfortunate that the KMT is siding with the Chinese communists and that ex-president Ma is ignoring public opinion's disapproval of visits to China at this point
,” the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) said in a statement on Monday.
Taiwan and China separated in 1949 following a civil war won by the Chinese Communist Party.
Taiwan's presidential election next year will pit the KMT against the DPP.
Under President Ma Ying-jeou, between 2008 and 2016, cross-Strait relations improved, culminating in a summit with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in Singapore in 2015.
Read alsoTaiwan and Japan, united against China but so different
Protesters at the airport
Under Tsai Ing-wen's tenure, Beijing has stepped up military, economic and diplomatic pressure on Taiwan, eliminating nine of Taiwan's allies, leaving only thirteen countries that recognize the island diplomatically.
China and Honduras began official diplomatic relations on Sunday, after the severance of ties with Taiwan which, according to Taipei, is part
of a series of coercion and intimidation on the part of China
This Monday, at Taipei airport, a handful of demonstrators protested against Ma Ying-jeou's visit to China, claiming that he had thus "
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not comment on this visit, which does not relate "
to a diplomatic question
", according to a spokesperson.