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Visit will have impact beyond cross-Strait relations

By Wilson Lee Flores | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-08 08:16
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Ma Ying-jeou (front, second from left), former chairman of the Chinese Kuomintang party, visits the Xi’an branch of the China National Archives of Publications and Culture in Xi’an, Shaanxi province, on Saturday. CHEN YEHUA / XINHUA

In a world wracked by geopolitical uncertainties against the backdrop of Washington hosting yet another meeting to strengthen its military alliances and weeks before a change of leadership on the Chinese island of Taiwan, the visit of Ma Ying-jeou, former Kuomintang leader, to the Chinese mainland from April 1 to 11 raises hopes, however slim, for peace across the Taiwan Strait and the region beyond.

Accompanied by students from Taiwan, Ma's schedule includes paying respects to the Yellow Emperor, one of the five ancient, legendary Chinese emperors and widely regarded as the common ancestor of the Chinese people, at his mausoleum near Xi'an, Shaanxi province, on Tomb Sweeping Day. Ma's visit to the mainland evokes a profound sense of optimism beyond cross-Strait ties, and raises hopes for a reconfiguration of regional dynamics and stabilizing the region.

Ma's historic visit will help improve cross-Strait relations, foster pragmatism and fortify regional stability.

Ma's second visit to the mainland, following his successful goodwill mission in 2023, manifests his steadfast commitment to improving cross-Strait relations.

The importance of Ma's efforts just weeks before the imminent inauguration of new Taiwan leader Lai Ching-te can never be overestimated. In this complex environment, Ma's peace overture offers a counterpoint. His visit to the mainland also serves as a poignant reminder to Asians that sustained dialogue and diplomacy are critical to defusing tensions and fostering mutual understanding.

Ma's visit amplifies inclusivity and collaboration. With the Taiwan island set to get a new leader, Ma's proactive efforts serve as a bridge between the past and the present, a bridge that promotes peace, progress and prosperity.

By directly engaging with the mainland in a spirit of openness and pragmatism, Ma has highlighted that constructive dialogue can help resolve political differences and pave the way for peace. His visit has an impact beyond cross-Strait ties, and we Asians are waiting to see a breakthrough in cross-Strait ties.

At the heart of Ma's mission lies a steadfast commitment to bridging the schism between the mainland and Taiwan. By facilitating direct engagement between young students from the island and their mainland compatriots from Peking University and Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, Ma is laying the groundwork for not only improving mutual understanding but also enhancing mutual trust, dialogue and synergy between mainland and Taiwan youths.

As one of the highlights of his visit to the mainland, Ma paid respects to the Yellow Emperor at his mausoleum on Tomb Sweeping Day, which was a poignant tribute to the rich cultural heritage and shared legacy of all Chinese people.

This solemn Confucian tradition serves as a powerful reminder of the eternal and intrinsic unity binding the Chinese people, transcending political divides and fostering collaborative harmony. As Ma and the Taiwan students performed the rituals on Tomb Sweeping Day, fulfilling their moral obligation by paying respects to the revered Yellow Emperor, they fostered a deeper sense of kinship across the strait.

Furthermore, Ma's visit has immense potential for enhancing win-win economic cooperation across the Strait, thereby fueling faster pan-Asian economic growth and bolstering investor confidence in the economic potential of the region.

During my recent visit to Taiwan as a guest of the Taipei international bakery show, lots of Taiwan entrepreneurs told me that their economy has not been performing well.

I believe normalization of cross-Strait trade and defusing of tensions can act as catalysts for the island's improved economic performance. And increased people-to-people exchanges like Ma's visit can lead to better economic exchanges, which will benefit the Chinese nation and the region beyond.

Therefore, we should support Ma's efforts to improve cross-Strait ties, and the two sides of the Strait should seize upon this golden opportunity to build a better future for the whole Chinese nation, as well as the global community, a future marked by harmony and progress. Now is the time to chart a mutually beneficial, resolute and enlightened trajectory toward unity, prosperity and enduring peace.

The author is a moderator for Pandesal Forum, and a columnist for The Philippine Star and Abante newspapers.The views don't necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

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