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Ma calls for cross-strait cooperation on visit to Sun Yat-Sen residence

04/02/2024 09:32 PM
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Ma Ying-jeou (front left) visits Sun Yat-Sen residence in Guangdong, China on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Ma's office April 2, 2024
Ma Ying-jeou (front left) visits Sun Yat-Sen residence in Guangdong, China on Tuesday. Photo courtesy of Ma's office April 2, 2024

Taipei, April 2 (CNA) Former President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) invoked Sun Yat-Sen (孫逸仙) in a call for cooperation between both sides of the Taiwan Strait during a visit to the Republic of China founding father's former home in Guangdong, China on Tuesday.

Ma, who is currently leading a delegation of Taiwanese students on an April 1-11 visit to China, kicked off the second day of his trip with a tour of electric vehicle maker BYD Auto's offices in Shenzhen, accompanied by China's Taiwan Affairs Office Director Song Tao (宋濤).

Later in the day, Ma's delegation visited the former residence of Sun -- a founder of the ROC and the first leader of Ma's political party, the Kuomintang -- in the neighboring city of Zhongshan.

In remarks delivered after a tour of the home, Ma said he had long idolized Sun, who lived at a time when China was weak and dejected, bullied and forced by foreign powers to sign agreements forfeiting its sovereignty.

At that time, he said, much of China was economically unequal, illiterate, lacking in the rule of law, socially backward, and many people had no hope.

The revolution that Sun led, by contrast, was one that promised the Chinese people freedom, democracy, economic equality and a unified China, Ma said.

Ma said he hoped people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait would heed Sun's dying words, when he spoke of "peace, struggle, [and] saving China."

"I deeply hope that both sides of the Taiwan Strait can cooperate with each other, avoid war, and ... achieve peace and prosperity together," Ma said, adding that this is also "the greatest hope of this generation of Chinese people."

In Taiwan, media outlets were quick to note Ma did not specifically mention the Republic of China (Taiwan's official name) during the speech -- as he did last year during a visit to Sun's mausoleum in Nanjing -- though he did nod to the founding of the ROC in 1911 with a reference to events "113 years ago."

Ma's delegation is scheduled to spend one more day in Guangdong Province, before traveling to Shaanxi province on Wednesday night and Beijing on April 7.

Multiple news outlets, including Reuters, have reported that Ma will meet with Chinese leader Xi Jinping (習近平) on April 8.

(By Wang Cheng-chung, Lu Chia-jung and Matthew Mazzetta)

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