A group of 37 teachers and students from Chinese mainland universities concluded their exchange visit to the Taiwan island on Sunday and returned to the mainland.
The group arrived to Taiwan on July 15 at the invitation of the Taiwan-based Ma Ying-jeou Foundation. It is the first exchange visit in over three years that mainland universities have paid to the island.
During the 9-day visit, the delegation visited Hsinchu, Taichung, Taipei, Hualien and New Taipei City to explore the daily life in the island and participated in group talks on education and youth with students of four universities in the island - National Chengchi University, Chinese Culture University, National Taiwan University and National Dong Hwa University, joined by former chairman of the Kuomintang party Ma Ying-jeou.
They also paid a visit to the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
Before they boarded the plane on Sunday, the university students across the Straits were reluctant to part, hugging each other, holding hands, taking photos and making plans to meet again.
Ma said the trip is just a beginning, according to Taiwan media outlets. In the future, he hopes to organize cross-Straits student visits every year, so that young people across the Straits can have more exchanges and get to know each other, as well as bring peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and truly avoid war and seek peace.
Hao Ping, head of the delegation and Peking University Party Secretary, said that the delegation is grateful to Ma and the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation's invitation, The Paper reported.
"I believe that the mainland students had an unforgettable journey of a lifetime. We also feel the welcome and goodwill of compatriots in the Taiwan island, which make me realize that both sides of the Taiwan Straits have the same roots and that blood is always thicker than water," Hao said.
Hailing the visit a success, Ma said the students have had very in-depth exchanges and interactions, which is the reason that he was determined to invite the mainland students to Taiwan after his visit to the mainland in March.
From late March to early April this year, Ma led a group of Taiwan students to the mainland and had discussions at three universities, during which Ma expressed the hope that college teachers and students from mainland could also go to Taiwan for exchanges, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The visit has exceeded expectations, said Hsiao Hsu-tsen, executive director of the Ma Ying-jeou Foundation.
"Wherever the group of teachers and students from mainland universities goes these days, they are warmly welcomed by the residents in the Taiwan island," he said. "The most important thing between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits now is not debates, but exchanges."