Taiwan ruling party chief visits China to discuss peace plans

May 26th, 2008 - 2:09 pm ICT by admin  

Taipei, May 26 (DPA) Taiwan, in its highest contact with China since 1949, Monday sent its ruling party chief to China to discuss President Ma Ting-jeou’s peace plans with Chinese President Hu Jintao. Wu Poh-hsiung, chairman of the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), led a 16-member delegation to China at the invitation of Hu Jintao, who issued the invitation in his capacity as secretary-general of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

In a major policy shift, Taiwan’s new President Ma has offered to seek peace with China and has asked Beijing to resume dialogue which began in 1993 but was halted by China in 1995 in retaliation against Taiwan’s seeking independence.

In China, Wu will also discuss Ma’s proposal for launching cross-strait weekend charter flights and opening the door to Chinese tourists, scheduled to start July 4.

The weekend charter flights will be expanded to daily charter flights and eventually become regular flights.

Speaking to reporters before his departure at Taoyuan International Airport outside Taipei, Wu said he carries heavy responsibilities and will try his best to achieve the goal.

“We hope this visit will contribute to cross-strait peace, to Taiwan’s security and to making Ma’s pledges come true,” he said.

Wu flew via Hong Kong to Nanjing. On Tuesday, he will pay homage to China’s founding father Sun Yat-sen in Nanjing before proceeding to Beijing. On Wednesday, he will hold talks with Hu Jintao.

Wu will visit Shanghai Thursday to meet with Taiwan investors and then to Yixing, Jiangsu province, to attend a prayer meeting for China’s earthquake victims.

The May 12 magnitude-8 quake in Sichuan province has killed at least 62,100, injured 347,401 and left 5.7 million homeless.

Taiwan’s prompt and generous aid to earthquake survivors was well-received by China and is likely to have influenced the decision to invite Wu to visit Beijing.

While most Taiwanese support Wu’s visit, the pro-independence opposition party Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has blasted the trip as humiliating for Taiwan.

“Taiwan, as a sovereign nation, needs a government-to-government channel of communication with China. Opening this alternative channel of communication between the two political parties is unnecessary and humiliating,” DPP lawmaker Chen Ting-fei said.

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