Former Taiwan leader begins mainland tour at historic mausoleum

NANJING, China –

Former Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou began a 12-day tour of China with a visit to the iconic mausoleum, the burial site of a founding figure revered in both China and Taiwan.

Ma visited the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing, the capital when Ma’s Kuomintang (Kuomingtang) Party ruled China in the early 20th century. The party claimed to be China’s legitimate ruler for decades. and is seen as more sympathetic to integration or unification with the mainland than the ruling Democratic People’s Party.

There, he paid tribute to Sun Yat-sen, the founder of the Republic of China and the Kuomintang, giving a short speech and then bowing before the memorial.

“The people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to the Chinese nation, the children of Yandi and the Emperor,” he told a group of Chinese and Taiwanese reporters who were allowed to accompany him on the trip. Go, refer to the mythical emperors. revered as the founders of China’s dominant Han nation.

Ma’s trip to China comes as tensions between Taiwan and China have increased, exacerbated by the adversarial relationship between the US and China. Taiwan, where the Kuomintang retreated after losing the civil war in China, is today a self-governing democracy and the United States is Taiwan’s biggest unofficial ally. However, China claims the island as its own.

Ma’s visit comes days after Taiwan lost another diplomatic ally to China, which has spent the past seven years pressuring countries to shift diplomatic recognition from Taiwan to Taiwan. China.

He sees the trip as an effort to reduce stress by promoting exchanges, bringing Taiwanese university students with him on the visit, and said he hopes his trip can help relieve stress. straight. Observers expected the visit to be more symbolic than substantive.

“Both sides must pursue peace, otherwise, both sides will have no future,” he said.

Ma praises Sun, who supports a modern Chinese nation and overthrows the Qing dynasty Manchuria. It was Sun himself who founded the Republic of China in 1912, and ruled the mainland for a very short time. After retreating to Taiwan, the Kuomintang continued to refer to their country as the Republic of China. Meanwhile, the Communist Party took over the mainland in 1949 and renamed the country the People’s Republic of China.

Outside the mausoleum, crowds of curious residents and tourists gathered in the morning to see if they could see the former President.

Most tourists who regularly expect to see the mausoleum and the surrounding park are blocked from entering, although a lucky few who have made reservations have been allowed into the site.

“Although there are some difficulties on the official front, as long as there is benefit to the public and you can build a good foundation, then this will be good for the unification of both sides,” Chen Shao said. ‘an, who said. to the mausoleum to meet Ma.

Ma is also visiting the Museum of Modern Chinese History, home to the former Presidential Palace in Nanjing.

Wu reports from Taipei, Taiwan. Olivia Zhang of Nanjing contributed to this report


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