Former President of Taiwan Ma Ying-jeou to lead students on U.S. visit amid China trip

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Ma Ying-jeou

31st March 2023 – (Taipei) Former President of Taiwan, Ma Ying-jeou, is set to lead a delegation of students on a visit to the United States during the summer, as reported by local media on Friday (31st). The trip is expected to include visits to Washington D.C., the White House, and the Capitol Hill. Sources suggest that the primary objective of Ma’s visit to the US is to explain to American officials that maintaining a relationship with mainland China does not imply an anti-US stance.

According to reports from TVBS, Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Chen Yi-hsin stated that Ma Ying-jeou may lead a youth delegation to visit the U.S. during the summer, in a move that seeks to strike a balance between Taiwan’s relationships with both the Mainland and the U.S.. The report suggests that this “Big Nine Academy” U.S. visit plan was originally intended for 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic and is now scheduled to coincide with the presidential election.

KMT think-tank senior adviser Zhao Chun-shan revealed that he had discussed with Ma the significance of cross-strait relations for the 2024 election, and Ma hopes to contribute to this issue in his own way. He also hopes to clarify to U.S. officials that cross-strait relations are crucial, but maintaining a relationship with the mainland does not imply an anti-U.S. stance. Many Americans hold this misconception, and if the visit takes place in the second half of this year, Ma can explain to Americans upon his return from China that he also seeks peace across the Taiwan Strait, which aligns with U.S. interests.

Ma’s visit to the US, in addition to his ongoing trip to mainland China, highlights his commitment to balancing cross-strait relations while also establishing good ties with the U.S.. This visit also aims to debunk misconceptions about Taiwan’s stance on the U.S., particularly in light of increasing tensions between the U.S. and China. Ma’s efforts to bridge gaps between these nations may pave the way for future Taiwanese leaders to build strong relationships with both the US and China, while also promoting peace across the Taiwan Strait.