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Lien, Hu to hold historic meeting

Updated: 2005-04-29 09:40

The Communist Party of China (CPC) and Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) may formally end their hostilities in a historic meeting between their leaders in Beijing Friday afternoon -- their highest level contact in 56 years.

Lien Chan, the first chairman of the KMT, or Nationalist Party, to visit the mainland since 1949, is due to meet Hu Jintao, general secretary of the CPC Central Committee on Friday.

Analysts say the two parties may announce an end to decades of animosity after the landmark meeting between the leaders.

"The Taiwan issue is a holdover from the civil war between the KMT and the Communists. The two parties could officially declare an end to the civil war and the state of hostility between them," said Zhou Qing, a veteran Taiwan watcher.

The civil war ended with the defeated KMT fleeing to Taiwan after ruling China for decades since the fall of the Qing dynasty in 1911. No armistice or peace agreement was ever signed.

During their afternoon meeting, Lien will give Hu and other Chinese leaders six boxes each of Taiwan bananas, pineapple, papaya, mango and other fruit, a KMT spokesman told reporters.

The mainland could exempt Taiwan fruit from import duties, similiar the trade practice applied to Hong Kong and Macao.

"There could be a big breakthrough on Taiwan farm goods," said a member of Lien's delegation who requested anonymity.


Lien has been denounced by pro-independence die-hards as a "traitor" for making what he has called a journey of peace amid a "grave stalemate" in cross-Straits relations.

"Nothing will be signed," the delegation member told Reuters, seeking to deflect criticism. "But the KMT and the Communist Party could announce consensus on improving cross-Strait relations and opposition to Taiwan independence."

"We also have the '92 consensus," the source said, referring to an agreement in which Beijing and Taiwan's previous KMT administration agreed to their own interpretations of "one China" which led to detente and landmark talks.

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