China's Xi Jinping hosts former Taiwan president in push to promote unity

Beijing, China - Amidst escalating tensions in the Taiwanese strait and South China Sea, Chinese president Xi Jinping hosted former Taiwanese president and advocate for reunification Ma Ying-jeou.

Xi Jinping met with former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing.
Xi Jinping met with former Taiwan president Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing.  © imago/Xinhua

Ma Ying-jeou was in office from 2008 to 2016 and has long supported closer links and friendlier diplomatic relations between the two countries. He is currently on an 11-day tour across China.

The meeting between Xi Jinping, Chinese president and chairman of the country's ruling communist party, and Ma Ying-jeou is the first since 2015, when the two countries held their first talks since splitting in 1949.

Both leaders used the opportunity to warn about Taiwanese independence and the risk that they believe it poses to peace and stability in the region.

Xi praises Ma for opposing "Taiwan independence"

President Xi Jinping praised the former Taiwan president for his support of China.
President Xi Jinping praised the former Taiwan president for his support of China.  © imago/Xinhua

The South China Morning Post reported that President Xi praised Ma Ying-jeou for his opposition of Taiwanese independence, saying that "Compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are all Chinese people."

"There is no grudge that cannot be resolved, no issue that cannot be discussed and no force that can separate us... External interference cannot stop the historic trend of the reunion of the family and the country."

Responding to Xi's commends, former president Ma Ying-jeou warned about the risks of a war breaking out, going even as far as referring to the two countries as one "Chinese nation."

China slaps more sanctions on US defense companies as Taiwan tensions grow
China China slaps more sanctions on US defense companies as Taiwan tensions grow

"If a war breaks out between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, it will be an unbearable burden for the Chinese nation. I sincerely hope that both sides respect the values and way of life treasured by the people, and maintain peace across the strait."

Talks between the former Taiwan leader and President Xi come mere days after China responded to US war games with a show of force, and while talks between Japan, President Biden, and the Philippines continue in Washington.

Cover photo: imago/Xinhua

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