A year ago this meeting between Xi Jinping and Ma Ying-Jeou would have been between the leaders of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese Nationalist parties. However, near the end of last year, Mr. Ma left the chairmanship of the Nationalist Party.
For us outsiders of Chinese politics let me remind you than the People’s Republic of China (Mainland) and the Republic of China (Taiwan) are the remnants of China’s Civil War. The Nationalists after losing China fled to Taiwan and before the 1990’s wanted to reclaim the mainland. On the other side of the coin, the Communists wanted to invade Taiwan to claim it as a CPC victory of reunifying China.
However, both sides have settled on the status quo, Taiwan and the Mainland are both part of China. The reason why would be because trade between both Taiwan and the Mainland is beneficial to each faction and neither will go to either of extreme of Taiwanese independence or an invasion from the mainland.
Why we’re going to be talking about titles? Well, before Ma left his KMT chairmanship, he and Mr. Xi were to meet as equals – the titular heads of China’s Nationalist and Communists parties.
Let’s go further:
If Mr. Xi were to meet Mr. Ma as the President of the People’s Republic, the Taiwanese would reject it because the Taiwanese have their own form of government – a democratic system. Were Mr. Ma to meet Mr Xi as the President of the Republic of China, because he was elected by the Taiwanese as their president, it would imply that Taiwan as independent of the Mainland.
Thus with today’s announcement, Mr. Ma and Mr. Xi will both be meeting each other as Mr. Ma and Political Leader of the Chinese Communist Party Xi.
That’s all for your China lesson of the day.