Former Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou worshiped his ancestors in Xiangtan, Hunan, China on April 1.


[Compiler Guan Shuping/Comprehensive Report] The Japanese media "Nikkei Asia" reported on the 13th that the former Chinese President Ma Ying-jeou visited China a few days ago, but was not received by Chinese President Xi Jinping. Even the seven members of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee One, Wang Huning, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, did not see it. According to analysis, Ma Ying-jeou's usefulness to China may be decreasing.

Keji Nakazawa, former director of the my country Branch of Nikkei Asia, pointed out in this analysis that Chinese President Tsai Ing-wen recently transited through the United States to meet with Congressmen from both parties, including Speaker McCarthy of the U.S. House of Representatives. At the same time, former President Ma Ying-jeou was visiting China. Now, China seems to be grandly welcoming the visit of Taiwan's first outgoing president, but now Ma Ying-jeou's visit to China is over. To use a Chinese idiom, this trip to China is "anticlimactic".

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Ma Ying-jeou failed to meet Xi Jinping, and his itinerary did not include Beijing, and he was treated coldly by Beijing, which was inferior to the "Ma-Xi meeting" in Singapore in 2015.

In addition, although there were many rumors in advance that Ma Ying-jeou will meet with Wang Huning during his visit to China, in the end he did not meet this senior executive who ranks fourth in the CCP and is actually in charge of Taiwan policy and united front work.

The highlight of Ma Ying-jeou's 12-day visit to China was the meeting in Hubei with Song Tao, director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. The local leader of the bureau, but none of the seven members of the Politburo Standing Committee received him.

In contrast, when Xia Liyan, vice chairman of the Kuomintang, visited China in February, he also met Wang Huning.

Analysts believe that Beijing is acting cautiously.

Ma Ying-jeou is a pro-China figure who is useful to Beijing, but seven years after he left office, it is doubtful how much influence he still has in Taiwanese society, including within the KMT, when Taiwan will hold general elections next year.

Another reason for Beijing's hesitation toward Ma Ying-jeou is Ma Ying-jeou's strong affection for the "Republic of China," which is Taiwan's official name but which China has never recognized.

Despite Ma Ying-jeou's calls for better cross-strait relations, he is a former president of Taiwan from the Kuomintang, the party that fought a bitter civil war with China.

Beijing's fears came true when Ma Ying-jeou visited his ancestral hometown of Hunan.

Ma Ying-jeou explained to the ancestors his performance during his tenure as the president of the Republic of China in the Hunan ancestral memorial ceremony; he had a discussion with students at Hunan University and surprisingly said, "Our country is divided into two parts, one is Taiwan and the other is Taiwan. The mainland area is the Republic of China, and it is all China.”

Nikkei Asia pointed out that Ma Ying-jeou's conversation can be said to be the first time that a former president of Taiwan talked about the boundaries of the Republic of China in China.

An expert familiar with cross-strait relations pointed out that "China seems to be worried and even angry about Ma Ying-jeou's unexpected remarks," and "this may affect how China will use Ma Ying-jeou in the future."

There is a view that if Ma Ying-jeou had not claimed to be the former president of the Republic of China, or had not declared that mainland China was part of the Republic of China, he might have met Wang Huning in Shanghai as expected.

However, there is another point of view that the Ma-Xi meeting is an option for Beijing, and Ma Ying-jeou is hesitant due to various considerations. The Kuomintang has not yet decided on a candidate for next year's presidential election, which seems to be Ma Ying-jeou's concern.

Sources said that Ma Ying-jeou was originally planned to meet Wang Huning, but it was aborted before the start of the trip.

One explanation for this from the outside world is that the Chinese leadership did not meet with Ma Ying-jeou to avoid further damage to relations with the United States.

Ma Ying-jeou will play a delicate role in next year's general election. Nakaze Keji believes that Beijing still has Ma Ying-jeou in mind, including postponing the military exercise to retaliate against the meeting between Tsai Ing-wen and McCarthy. If China launches military exercises while Ma Ying-jeou is still in China, it will be counterproductive. Favorable for the Democratic Progressive Party.

However, as Beijing continues to hold this "Ma Ying-jeou card", perhaps it will understand that this card has never been such a trump card.