The mainland delegation will include members from the two most prestigious universities in the country, Peking University and Tsinghua University, as well as three universities Ma visited during his private trip – Fudan University, Wuhan University and Hunan University.
According to Xinhua, the delegation will be led by Hao Ping, the Communist Party secretary of Peking University and an international relations scholar.
During the visit, the mainland academics will engage in exchanges with Taiwanese institutions including National Taiwan University, National Chengchi University, Chinese Culture University and Donghua University, it said.
They will also visit several cities and counties in Taiwan, including capital city Taipei, Taichung, New Taipei, Hsinchu and Hualien county.
The trip comes as Beijing advocates for more people-to-people exchanges amid growing cross-strait tensions.
In May, Wang Huning, Beijing’s top official on Taiwan affairs and a member of the Politburo Standing Committee, called for improved ties, saying “cross-strait exchanges should be restored and expanded step by step” during an annual Taiwan work conference in May, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
“Friendship with people from all social strata in Taiwan should be cultivated,” he said, according to CCTV.
However, Beijing has banned individual mainland tourists from travelling to Taiwan since 2019 – one year before the re-election of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen of the independence-leaning Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Tsai, who took office in 2016, has refused to endorse a vague agreement, known as the 1992 consensus, between Beijing and Taipei on sovereignty issues.
Despite Beijing’s calls for more people-to-people exchanges, Taiwan’s ruling DPP has remained cautious in this regard. Ma’s recent visit, though private, was seen as politically charged, leading some to question whether he was a political tool for Beijing.
Taiwan faces a growing military threat from Beijing, which sees the island as a breakaway territory that must be brought back under its control, by force if necessary.
Most countries, including the United States, do not recognise Taiwan as an independent state but oppose any forcible change in the status quo.