The historic visit began when Wang Yu-chi, minister of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council, met with his Chinese counterpart, Taiwan Affairs Office Minister Zhang Zhijun, Central News Agency said. The two men greeted each other by their formal titles of minister for the first time in history -- a nod to Taiwan's status as an independent nation rather than a Chinese protectorate.
After his official welcome for the four-day trip to China, Wang spoke to students at Nanjing University, located in the eastern province of Jiangsu, a school that dates back to the year 258.
There, he told an audience of some 200 students the Taiwanese government's commitment to openness is crucial to democratic society.
"Democratic rule may not be perfect, and there may be many shortcomings in its implementation, but because of democratic rule in Taiwan, because of monitoring, officials don't dare to be corrupt. This is a lifestyle that we are proud of," he said.