Xi stresses shared culture and history in meeting with Ma
‘Compatriots from both sides of the Straits belong to same Chinese nation’
Published: Apr 10, 2024 11:47 PM
Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, meets with Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing on April 10, 2024. Photo: Xinhua

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, meets with Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing on April 10, 2024. Photo: Xinhua

Xi Jinping, general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, met with Ma Ying-jeou in Beijing on Wednesday. 

Compatriots from both sides of the Taiwan Straits belong to the same Chinese nation, Xi said. The over-5,000-year history of the Chinese nation saw successive generations of ancestors move and settle down in Taiwan and people from across the Straits fight side by side to recover the island from foreign invaders, he said. 

People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are all Chinese, Xi said. "There are no knots that cannot be untied, no issues that cannot be discussed, and no force that can separate us," he said. The distance of the Straits cannot sever the bond of kinship between compatriots from across the Strait, Xi said.

He said that the difference in systems does not alter the reality that both sides of the Strait belong to one China, and external interference cannot hold back the historical trend of national reunification.

In the meeting, Ma said that upholding the 1992 Consensus and opposing "Taiwan independence" are the common political foundation for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.

The meeting marks the second meeting between Xi and Ma after the two had a historic exchange in Singapore in 2015. 

Calling youth "the hope of the country and the future of the nation," Xi encouraged young people from both sides of the Straits to aspire to become more proud, confident, and assured in their identity as Chinese people, work together for the long-term prosperity of the Chinese nation, and continue to create new glory of the nation.

People on both sides of the Straits share the same bloodline, culture and history as well as the same responsibility for the nation and the same aspiration for the future, Xi said. He stressed grasping the cross-Straits situation from the perspective of the overall interests and long-term development of the Chinese nation.

Xi called for resolute efforts to guard the common home of the Chinese nation, work together for the long-term well-being of the Chinese nation, foster a strong sense of community for the Chinese nation, and achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

He expressed grief over the loss of lives in the 7.3-magnitude earthquake that jolted waters off the coast of Hualien on April 3, and extended his sympathies to those affected by the disaster.

People on both sides of the Straits belong to the same Chinese nation, and they should deepen exchanges and cooperation, jointly carry forward the Chinese culture, improve the well-being of compatriots on both sides, and work together for the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, Ma said. 

Common home

Zhang Wensheng, deputy dean of the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University, told the Global Times on Wednesday that the meeting shows that the mainland highly affirms the significance of Ma's visit, which highlights the common identity of both the Chinese nation and culture. 

Compared to Ma's mainland visit in 2023, during which he visited his ancestral hometown in Hunan Province and worshipped his ancestors, Ma attended a ceremony in northwest China's Shaanxi Province to pay homage to Huangdi, also known as the Yellow Emperor, the legendary founder of the Chinese civilization and the common ancestor of all Chinese people.

Ma's mainland trip this time has a clearer meaning of national identity, Zhang said. 

Ma and a group of young people from Taiwan island he led expressed their opposition against the de-Sinicization moves of the Taiwan authorities with practical actions on the mainland, and maintained the identity of one China, Zhang said. 

According to Wang Yingjin, director of the Center for Cross-Straits Relations Studies at the Renmin University of China, the meeting between Xi and Ma on Wednesday is of great significance for the future development of cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation, Wang said. 

Ma currently holds no public office. By highlighting that the two sides of Straits share a common history, culture and national identity, it is more approachable for Taiwan compatriots, more conducive to unite more Taiwan compatriots to promote cross-Straits exchanges, and also cut off the space for the secessionist Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) to hype up the issue, Wang said. 

During a press briefing on Wednesday morning, Zhu Fenglian, a spokesperson for the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office commended Ma, who led a delegation of young people from Taiwan on the visit to the mainland, for his important contribution to promoting exchanges between the youth across the Taiwan Straits.

She called on Taiwan compatriots to resolutely uphold the one-China principle and the "1992 Consensus," firmly oppose "Taiwan independence" separatist activities and interference from external forces, and make joint efforts with the mainland side to promote peaceful cross-Straits relations and integrated development of the two sides.

Voicing for peace

According to Zhang, an important goal for this meeting in Beijing is to cool down the cross-Straits tensions and defuse potential risks and conflicts. 

Xi said during the meeting that compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Straits should firmly oppose separatist activities of "Taiwan independence" and interference by external forces, and jointly guard the common home of the Chinese nation. 

In a phone conversation with US President Joe Biden on April 2, President Xi stressed that the Taiwan question is the first red line that must not be crossed in China-US relations. In the face of "Taiwan independence" separatist activities and external encouragement and support for them, China is not going to sit on its hands.

The existence of an intermediary to promote cross-Straits peace like Ma is not a bad thing for the DPP, even if they do not admit it in public, Wang said. 

The expert said Ma represents a positive force which supports the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations on the base of the one-China principle, and its existence is a constraint to the de-Sinicization forces on the island, which is of great significance to the maintenance of peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits.

Although Ma cannot dominate the policy direction of the DPP authorities, he still has a relatively large impact on cross-Straits relations and Taiwan society, said Zhang, noting that Ma's mainland trip is a kind of support and encouragement to the voices of social forces in Taiwan calling for peace, cross-Straits exchanges and cooperation.