Against a backdrop of escalating cross-strait tensions, Taiwan’s former president, Ma Ying-jeou, has finished a 12-day tour of mainland China with a warning that the current government in Taipei is risking the island’s future. “I am deeply worried about the current situation. The authorities have continued to put Taiwan’s future in jeopardy,” Ma said on Friday after landing in Taipei’s Taoyuan International Airport. “It is your choice to choose between peace and war for our future.” Beijing, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory and has never renounced the use of force to bring it back under its control, has repeatedly warned President Tsai Ing-wen’s administration against seeking formal independence and warned the United States against any official contacts with the island. It vowed to retaliate by further ramping up military pressure on the island after this week’s meeting in California between Tsai and US House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, which it views as highly provocative. Ma was the first former Taiwanese president to visit the mainland since the defeated Nationalist forces fled to the island at the end of the civil war in 1949 and set up an interim government. During his mainland tour – which saw him visit the cities of Shanghai, Nanjing, Wuhan, Changsha and Chongqing – Ma sought to promote the one-China framework as the basis for improving cross-strait ties and holding talks. Beijing sanctions US and Taiwan bodies in response to Tsai Ing-wen visit “Our country amended the constitution in 1997 …. In defining our country, there are two parts, one is the Taiwan area and the other is the mainland area. Both are part of our Republic of China, both are China,” Ma told an audience at Hunan University in Changsha on Sunday, referring to the official name for Taiwan. But Tsai said on Friday that this was not only an outdated concept but also out of sync with the reality in Taiwan. “We are already in the year 2023. The theory of ex-president Ma belongs to the 1970s, and is different from what we say now,” Tsai told Taiwanese journalists in Los Angeles shortly before the end of her 10-day visit to Taiwan’s allies Guatemala and Belize, which included two stops in the US. She said in the current situation, the Republic of China and the People’s Republic of China did not belong to each other “which is a clear fact”. “The ultimate aim in handling cross-strait relations is to ensure the free and democratic lifestyle of the Taiwanese people as well as their human rights,” she said, adding she also hoped to be able to maintain cross-strait peace and stability. During the tour Ma visited historic sites and museums relating to the establishment of the ROC and the Sino-Japanese war. He also paid tribute to the graves of his ancestors in Hunan and was received by local Communist Party city chiefs. His group also included 30 students from Taiwan and he said he had helped to improve understanding by bringing together young people from both sides of the Taiwan Strait at three mainland universities. “Young people are our future. The more exchanges, the more they can get to know each other and the fewer chances for conflict in the future,” he said. He said the biggest result was the “revival of the 1992 consensus” – an understanding on both sides that there is only one China, but they can have different conceptions of what that means. ‘Wishful thinking’ to expect Beijing to compromise on Taiwan: Xi Jinping He said he hoped that by promoting his framework, Beijing would be more willing to take part in talks to ease the cross-strait animosity that has been growing since Beijing suspended official contact with Taipei – due mainly to Tsai’s refusal to accept the one-China principle – when Tsai took office in 2016. “With this common political basis, the mainland would be able to swiftly resume [official] exchanges and talks with us and this best fits the interests of Taiwanese people,” Ma said, vowing to do all he can to promote this concept for the sake of “real peace and security for Taiwan in the future”. During the visit he also met Song Tao, head of the mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Council, who accompanied him to Changsha from Wuhan and hosted a farewell banquet for him in Shanghai on Thursday. But Ma’s visit was severely criticised by the ruling Democratic Progressive Party and the pro-independence camp. On Friday, Premier Chen Chien-jen said he failed to “make clear the fact that Taiwan is an independent and sovereign nation” and that “the two sides do not belong to each other”. “It is a fact that Taiwan runs its own business and it is never the family business of China,” Chen said, referring to Song’s comment at the farewell banquet that “[we] must never allow external forces to interfere in our own business”. In a statement on Friday, Ma’s office said Tsai and her government were denying the “one-China content” in the official Republic of China constitution, adding that promoting Taiwan and the mainland as two countries would only put the island in a dangerous situation. China, US carriers sail near Taiwan in wake of Tsai-McCarthy meet It said Tsai’s anti-Beijing policy over the past seven years had been proven wrong as shown by the growing tensions in the Taiwan Strait , while Ma’s mainland visit had proved that his policy of promoting exchanges was on the right track. Although Ma has persistently called for the use of the two concepts of China as the political basis for cross-strait talks, Beijing has in recent years focused on using the “one country, two systems” formula it has applied in Hong Kong. Jang Chyi-lu, a legislator for the Taiwan People’s Party, a centrist opposition party, said Ma was indulging in wishful thinking. “Given that the mainland will have to accept the existence of the ROC and the separate rules of the two sides, do you think it would accept Ma’s one-China interpretation?” he asked.