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Hu invites Taiwan PFP chair to mainland
Updated: 2005-04-18 13:00

The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and General Secretary Hu Jintao welcomed and invited James Soong, chairman of the People First Party (PFP) in Taiwan, to head a PFP delegation to tour and visit the mainland, a senior official announced in Beijing Monday.

Hu Jintao, general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, invited Taiwan opposition leader James Soong, pictured, to visit the mainland, just weeks after Beijing feted a high-level Kuomintang party (KMT) delegation. [AFP]

Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee, said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua that he was authorized to make the announcement formally, and hoped that the PFP would send personnel to the mainland as soon as possible for consultations over the arrangements for Soong's visit.

"We believe that Chairman Soong's visit will help promote exchanges across the Taiwan Straits and contribute to the relaxation and stability of cross-Straits relations," said Chen, who also heads the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet.

Lien Chan, chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) party, will soon come for a visit at the invitation of the mainland, and the PFP has clearly expressed Soong's hope to head a delegation to visit the mainland before May 14.

When asked whether the mainland had invited Soong, Chen said that at the meeting with visiting KMT Vice-Chairman Chiang Pin- kung in Beijing on March 31, Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said clearly the mainland would also welcome the chairmen of other political parties in Taiwan who accept the '1992 consensus,' oppose 'Taiwan independence' and advocate the growth of cross-Straits relations to come for visit.

"What Jia said means we welcome PFP Chairman James Soong to visit the mainland," said Chen, adding that he himself also formally expressed his wishes of welcoming Soong to visit the mainland at his convenience when he was interviewed by TVBS, a Taiwan-based television, on April 1.

Last month, the first ever KMT delegation headed by Chiang Pin- kung from Taiwan toured the mainland after a span of 56 years since 1949, and the historic journey has turned out to be, as Chiang described, an "icebreaking trip."

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