Ma Ying-jeou, a former Taiwan President and former Kuomintang Party (KMT) Chairman, has a long history of kowtowing to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). He plans to lead a KMT delegation to China with former aids and several dozen students. During the 12-day trip beginning on 27 March, he will visit five cities: Nanjing, Wuhan, Changsha, Chongqing, and Shanghai. This will be the first time a former Taiwanese/Republic of China (ROC) President has gone to Communist China since 1949.
Nanjing and Sun Yat-Sen
Visiting Nanjing is very significant because Dr. Sun Yat-Sen’s mausoleum is located just outside the city, and where Ma sent his Mainland Affairs Council chairman, Wang Yu-chi, to visit in 2014, initiating new “government-to-government” exchanges. Ma could again use the memorial for significant political purposes since Sun Yat-Sen is viewed by the mainland Chinese and Taiwanese as the founder of the modern Chinese state after the fall of the Qing Dynasty.
In 2015, six months before leaving office, Ma met with CCP leader Xi Jinping in Singapore, a trip that had been planned for over two years. Although no official statements were agreed upon, the leaders wanted to meet and discuss issues of common interest. Many Taiwanese and pro-democracy people were suspicious of the meeting, wondering what it would mean for Taiwan, given the CCP’s intention to extend its control over the island, whether peacefully or by war.
KMT Vice Chairman Andrew Hsia visited the so-called People’s Republic of China (PRC) immediately following Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi’s visit last summer and while missiles were flying over and around Taiwan. The KMT continues demonstrating that they have not changed their mindset of eventual “unification” with the PRC.
Diplomatic Truce: Losing Diplomatic Recognition
As a result of President Ma’s election in 2008 and reelection in 2012, he and his party chose to decrease Taiwan’s interest in countries that recognized Taiwan. Some reports even indicated that President Ma did not want to compete with the PRC and had signaled that he did not want to offend the PRC. Several news outlets reported that Ma had a “diplomatic truce” with the CCP, which stated that the CCP would not try to take more countries away from Taiwan as long as Ma showed progress (kowtowing to the CCP) toward “unification.”