KMT leader to visit mainland April 26-May 3
Lien Chan, chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) party, will visit the mainland cities of Nanjing, Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai from April 26 to May 3, officials said Wednesday.
Lien will lead a KMT delegation for the visit at the invitation of Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
On April 18, Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of CPC Central
Committee, held talks with Lin Feng-cheng, secretary-general of the KMT party,
to finalize details of Lien's trip.
"My goal is to seek peace and stability over the Taiwan Strait and to create a mutually beneficial basis for the future development of cross-strait relations," he said.
Lien brushed aside criticism from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) that he was collaborating with the mainland to marginalize the DPP.
"We are making the trip with peace, goodwill and sincerity in mind... there is no need to blow up the issue like some 'friends' are deliberately doing so," he said.
Lien is scheduled to head to Nanjing on April 26 on his eight-day "peace trip" that will also take him to Beijing, Xi'an and Shanghai.
The KMT leader is expected to deliver a speech at Peking University on the morning of April 29 and meet Hu in the afternoon.
He is also due to address Taiwanese businessmen in Shanghai on May 2, and may even meet Wang Daohan, president of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, according to KMT officials.
Taiwanese authorities Monday warned the opposition leader against inking any agreements during the trip.
"If Mr. Lien signs any agreement with Beijing involving the right of the government, he would violate the law," said Joseph Wu, head of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council.
Local media reports have said Lien and Hu are expected to agree on formally ending the civil war that led to their division in 1949.
Beijing last month extended an invitation to Lien while KMT vice chairman P.K. Chiang led the party's first "bridge-building" trip to the mainland in more than 55 years.
Separately, Hu Monday invited James Soong, head of Taiwan's second biggest opposition People First Party (PFP), for a visit.
The PFP, in alliance with the KMT, forms the main opposition to the DPP.
Cross-strait tensions have escalated since the DPP's Chen Shui-bian won the "presidency" in 2000, ending the KMT's 51-year grip on power.