China invites Taiwan's opposition leader

April 1, 2005 at 5:13 AM
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BEIJING, April 1 (UPI) -- Beijing has invited Taiwan's opposition leader, Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan, to visit mainland China, as relations warm between the former rival parties.

If Chan accepts, it will be the highest-level contact between the Kuomintang, or Nationalist Party, and the Chinese Communist Party since the Nationalists, headed by deposed Chinese President Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan after their defeat in the country's civil war.

Taiwan media speculated that the visit would take place on May 29, the date that Chiang fled to the island in 1949.

The invitation was conveyed in Beijing by Jia Qinglin, chairman of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, to Chang Pin-kung, visiting vice-chairman of the Kuomintang, the South China Morning Post reported Friday.

Beijing has rolled out the red carpet for Chiang and his delegation of 34 party members during their five-day visit to Beijing, Guangzhou and Nanjing, the newspaper said.

The delegation reached a 10-point agreement with Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office on issues including cross-strait charter flights, agricultural cooperation, protection of Taiwan investments in China, tourism, journalistic exchanges and the opening of the Chinese financial market, the Taiwan News reported.

But Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council condemned the agreement, saying it violated Taiwanese law, as the delegation did not represent the government.

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