A trip by former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to China concludes today. Ma’s trip, the first by any Taiwanese President
A trip by former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou to China concludes today.
Ma’s trip, the first by any Taiwanese President since 1949, consisted of visits to Hunan and Nanjing provinces, where he paid respects to his ancestors, led meetings between college students from both Taiwan and Mainland China and reaffirmed Taiwan’s Chinese identity.
Cross-strait relations have deteriorated in recent months after Chinese air and naval units surrounded the island last August during a live-fire military exercise. Over a thousand Chinese military aircrafts have entered Taiwan’s air identification zone since the exercise, including 122 in March alone. In response, current Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen traveled to the US on Wednesday to talk with US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about reaffirming America’s military and diplomatic commitment to Taiwan.
Ma’s and Tsai’s conflicting trips will likely garner mixed reactions from Taiwanese voters, as most remain uncommitted to both Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party or Ma’s Kuomintang going into next January’s presidential election. Although, Chinese military incursions will likely increase in the coming months as the election nears, they are not expected to significantly impact Taiwanese voting intentions due to their commonality. Regardless of who wins, Taiwanese foreign policy will likely continue to focus on deepening relations with major military allies like the US and Japan in order to preserve its national security and independence.