Taiwan Opposition Leader to Visit Mainland China
Taiwan's main opposition leader, Lien Chan, is expected to embark on a historic visit to China next week and meet China's President Hu Jintao.
Mr Lien's Nationalist Party, also known as the Kuomintang, said details of his trip would be worked out after its secretary-general, Lin Feng-cheng, returned from Beijing later on Tuesday.
Sources said Mr Lien's eight-day visit would take him to Nanjing, Shanghai, Xian and Beijing.
The Kuomintang once ruled all of China before losing a civil war to Mao Zedong's Communists in 1949 and fleeing to Taiwan, where they ruled for more than 50 years.
Beijing claims democratically ruled Taiwan as part of its territory and has threatened to attack the island if it declares formal independence.
Analysts say the desire by Taiwan's opposition parties to wrest control of cross-strait relations from Chen Shui-bian's Government has given Beijing an opportunity to further its divide-and-conquer strategy.
Mr Chen's Government has expressed concern about the flurry of exchanges between opposition parties and the mainland, urging delegations to consult the Government before going.On Monday, China's official Xinhua news agency said Mr Hu had invited James Soong, the head of the smaller People First Party to the mainland, an offer that Mr Soong immediately accepted.
The Kuomintang and the People First Party both favour eventual unification with a democratic China, while President Chen's Democratic Progressive Party supports a pro-independence platform.
In March, the Kuomintang sent its vice-chairman, Chiang Pin-kung, to the mainland in the party's first official trip to China in 56 years.Source: Reuters