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Lien Chan to visit mainland on Sunday

By An Baijie (China Daily)

08:52, February 22, 2013

Honorary Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan will visit the Chinese mainland from Sunday, a move analysts said is expected to boost cross-Straits ties.

Lien will lead a delegation of more than 30 politicians and businesspeople on the trip from Sunday to Wednesday, KMT Mainland Affairs Committee director Kao Hui confirmed on Thursday, according to the Taipei-based Central News Agency.

Lien is expected to meet China's top political leaders, Kuo Su-chun, a spokeswoman for Lien, was quoted by AFP as saying on Thursday.

Lien's detailed agenda for the trip has not yet been disclosed, and China Daily phone calls to the publicity department of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council went unanswered on Thursday.

Lien met China's top political leader Xi Jinping in October 2006 when he visited Zhejiang province. Xi was the province's Party chief at the time.

Zhejiang had become more attractive to Taiwan businessmen, and the two regions had a "wide landscape" in business cooperation, Xi said during the meeting.

Lien's visit is expected to boost mutual trust between the CPC and the KMT, which will be beneficial to cross-Straits economic cooperation, said Chen Xiancai, a professor with the Taiwan Research Institute at Xiamen University.

"Lots of people in Taiwan are much concerned about the mainland's cross-Straits policy since Xi became the new top leader," he said. "The expected meetings between Lien and the top leaders will be a signal showing that the cross-Straits relationship will be harmonious in the coming years."

Xi used to be governor of Fujian province, and his cross-Straits policies in both Fujian and Zhejiang were welcomed by local Taiwan businessmen, Chen said.

Xi worked 17 years in Fujian, which gave him a deep understanding of Taiwan and enterprises from Taiwan. The first Taiwan chamber of commerce on the mainland was established in Xiamen when he worked in Fujian. He solved many problems for Taiwan compatriots and has been seen as a good friend by many of them, Xinhua reported.

Jin Yong, an associate professor of Taiwan research at the Communication University of China, said the KMT has been a channel for the Communist Party of China to communicate with the Taiwan people and leaders.

Cross-Straits ties have seen rapid growth in recent years, with the number of Chinese mainland tourists to Taiwan reaching nearly 69,000 during the Spring Festival holiday this month, about 30 percent more than last year, China News Service reported.

Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, said on Tuesday that the peaceful development of cross-Straits relations is of long-term guiding significance.

Efforts should be made to adhere to the guidelines on affairs concerning Taiwan, Yu said during an annual work conference on Taiwan affairs.

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