Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou became the first Taiwanese leader to visit mainland China since the 1949 revolution on Monday, saying he hoped to achieve peace and improve relations.
His office disclosed that he was met at Shanghai Pudong airport by Chinese officials, including Chen Yuanfeng, deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office.
The visit has been criticized by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party of Ma Ying-jeou’s successor, Tsai Ing-wen.
Speaking to reporters before leaving, MaYing-jeou, 73, said she was “very happy” to embark on a trip where she will talk with students and pay respects to the graves of her ancestors in China.
“In addition to going to make offerings to my ancestors, I will also take Taiwan university students to the mainland to exchange with them, hoping to improve the atmosphere through the enthusiasm and interaction of the youth, so that peace can get there even faster,” he said.
The trip comes at a time of high tension between Beijing and Taipei.