Zhang Zhijun, director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, met Wang Yu-chi, his Taiwanese counterpart, for four days of talks and visits. Zhang's arrival was protested by dozens of people near Taipei's airport.
The island known as Taiwan, or the Republic of China, has been ruled separately from the People's Republic of China since the 1940s. China considers Taiwan a breakaway province, and it was not until 2008 that a series of trade and investment between the two countries was negotiated.
Zhang's visit is not expected to provide any breakthroughs, other than a resumption of dialogue. His agenda includes visits around China and a talk with government opposition leader.
"I think the biggest contribution will be defined as a good start of a regular scheduled Cabinet-level meeting limited to cross-strait relations management, nothing more, nothing less. They will talk about how to manage the future of bilateral dialogue," said strategic studies professor Alexander Huang of Taiwan's Tamkang University.
Popular opinion in Taiwan cautions its leaders not to be overly accommodating to China. Demonstrations in March attempted to stop a trade pact, which many thought gave Beijing excessive influence over Taipei, and a January survey indicated 57 percent of Taiwanese consider China an unfriendly country.