On January 28, President Ma Ying-jeou will visit Itu Aba Island in the South China Sea, also known as Taiping Island in Taiwan. The US is disappointed by the trip and says it is extremely unhelpful to the sensitive situation in the area. Vietnam’s representative in Taiwan also strongly protests against Ma’s trip.
During his presidential campaign, President Ma Ying-jeou said the branch would be opened at the end of April in 2012. He said the construction would be listed in the “I-Taiwan 12 Projects.” However, he failed to realize this promise. Ma said again this March that the Southern Branch of the National Palace Museum in Chiayi would be open for a trial operation on December 28. To realize his words, construction workers are scrambling and working 24 hours a day.
Aboriginal groups said the Ma-Xi meeting was not sanctioned, so President Ma could not represent the Taiwanese people, or even Taiwanese aborigines, and declare that people on both sides of the strait are all part of the Chinese nation.
Lin Fei-fan, leader of the Sunflower Student Movement, says that President Ma Ying-jeou can't represent the people of Taiwan and Taiwan is not a part of China. He also says it is important to let the world know that the Taiwanese are the only ones that can fix this.
Some people have commented, "This shows the progress of history and the people." "We have waited 66 years for this 70-second-long handshake." "I shed tears when the scene appeared on the television screen." Others describe the scene as,"touching, shocking" and say, "God bless the two sides. Go, China."
Ma pointed out that the reason he could not talk about the “two China principle,” the “one China, one Taiwan principle” or the "independence of Taiwan” in the meeting is the ROC Constitution does not allow him to do so and he was speaking as the President of the ROC.
DPP presidential candidate Tsai Ing-wen says that the meeting of the cross-strait leaders involves Taiwan's dignity and national interests. It is harmful to Taiwan's democracy to announce the news in such a chaotic and hasty manner.
Taiwan presidential spokesperson Chen Yi-hsin says Ma's proposal for this meeting is to promote peace between the two sides and maintain the status quo. He says that no agreements will be signed and no joint statements will be issued.
Ma pointed out that Taiwan regulations still have some limitations upon the Chinese students, and the students take these limitations as discrimination. For example, the Chinese students have no health insurance according to the current regulations. Ma asks if other foreign students can have health insurance, why can't the Chinese students?
Ma expressed his hopes that the European Parliament will continue to pass resolutions supporting Taiwan’s participation in global cooperative efforts, such as UNFCCC, ICAO and WHO, as well as international organizations, conventions and mechanisms that respond to the challenges of globalization.