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Xi Jinping Affirms Reunion Inevitability in Meeting with Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou Amidst Concerns of External Influence

Photo: AFP

Chinese President Xi Jinping held discussions with former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou, where he emphasized the inevitability of a “family reunion” across the Taiwan Strait, despite the potential interference from external forces. This encounter, while not representing the current Taiwanese administration, is significant as it marks a rare instance of high-level communication between officials from both sides since the split in 1949. The historical backdrop of this interaction is rooted in the conclusion of the Chinese Civil War when the Republic of China (ROC) government retreated to Taiwan. Since then, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) has been established and maintained control over mainland China. The PRC considers Taiwan to be a part of its territory, while the ROC on Taiwan operates as a separate political entity with its own government, though it is not universally recognized as an independent state. President Xi Jinping, representing the PRC, has consistently articulated the view that reunification with Taiwan is a core objective of his government. In his conversation with Ma Ying-jeou, Xi reiterated that “family reunion” is a domestic affair and expressed his belief that no external interference could prevent this natural progression. Moreover, Xi indicated a willingness to engage in open discussions on any issues between the two sides, signaling a conciliatory approach within the framework of the “One China” principle upheld by the PRC.

As the former President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou’s tenure from 2008 to 2016 was marked by a warming of relations with mainland China, including the signing of several trade and economic agreements. Ma’s meeting with Xi, although he is no longer in office, carries symbolic weight and may reflect a segment of Taiwanese opinion that favors closer ties with the mainland under certain conditions.
The international community, particularly the United States and its allies, closely monitors cross-strait relations. The U.S. has historically maintained a policy of strategic ambiguity concerning Taiwan, providing it with defensive support while not officially recognizing it as an independent state. Other countries have similar stances, often shaped by their economic and geopolitical interests in the region.
While this dialogue does not represent an official cross-strait negotiation, it showcases the ongoing complexity of Taiwan-China relations and the challenges of external influences. The current Taiwanese administration, led by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), maintains a more cautious approach toward Beijing, emphasizing the island’s sovereignty and democratic values. It remains to be seen how such unofficial exchanges will impact the future of cross-strait relations and whether they might pave the way for more formal discussions.
The meeting between Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-jeou serves as a reminder of the nuanced and delicate nature of Taiwan-China relations. The PRC’s stance on unification remains firm, while Taiwan continues to navigate its unique political status and international partnerships. As regional dynamics evolve, the global community observes with interest how these relations will unfold in a landscape where both historical ties and contemporary geopolitical interests intersect.
By Roberto Casseli

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