Former Taiwan leader Ma Ying-jeou on Monday kicked off a 12-day visit to mainland China.
He arrived in Shanghai where he was greeted by senior Party officials of the Taiwan Work Office and the Shanghai Municipal Committee, before heading for Nanjing.
Speaking to reporters at Taoyuan International Airport before departing the island, Ma said he hoped to bring about peace and improve relations through the interactions of young people.
He also said he was very happy to be going on a trip where he will talk to students and pay respects to the graves of his ancestors on the mainland.
"Apart from going to make offerings to my ancestors, I am also taking Taiwan university students to the mainland for exchanges with them, hoping to improve the current cross-strait atmosphere through the enthusiasm and interaction of young people, so peace can come even faster and sooner to us here," he said.
The former Kuomintang chairman is touring in a private capacity and will visit Nanjing, Wuhan, Changsha, Chongqing and Shanghai.
Ma is the first former or current Taiwan leader to visit mainland China since the end of the civil war in 1949. (Agencies)
Last updated: 2023-03-27 HKT 17:38