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Sunday, April 10, 2005

Yahoo! News - Taiwan opposition leader expected to visit China in May

Yahoo! News - Taiwan opposition leader expected to visit China in May: Taiwan opposition leader expected to visit China in May

Sat Apr 9, 2:25 AM ET

TAIPEI (AFP) - Lien Chan, leader of Taiwan's main opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party, is expected to make an historic visit to China in May, KMT spokeswoman Cheng Li-wen said.

"Chairman Lien is likely to visit Nanjing, Beijing and perhaps Xian in a peace trip which will begin as early as next month," she said.

"We are not sure at this moment if Lien will meet (Chinese President) Hu Jintao during the visit," she told AFP, adding Lien's schedule is yet to be finalized.

Taiwan's Apple Daily reported Saturday that Lien will leave for the mainland on May 10 and is expected to receive the "highest treatment" from Beijing, including a meeting with Hu.

China last week extended an invitation to Lien while a KMT delegation, led by vice chairman P.K. Chiang, was on the first "bridge-building" trip to the mainland in more than 55 years.

Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has accused the KMT of being a "communist propaganda tool" for visiting China after Beijing passed an anti-secession law threatening the island with war.

Taiwanese prosecutors are also investigating if the KMT broke the law by reaching a "10-point consensus" with Beijing to seek closer ties in areas ranging from air transport to investment in agriculture.

The legal move irritated the KMT.

"A government unable to properly handle cross-strait problems now wants to use the law against us. This is ridiculous, isn't it?" Lien said Wednesday.

The two sides have been governed separately since the end of a civil war in 1949 but Beijing still considers the island part of its territory awaiting reunification -- by force if necessary.

Tensions have risen since Chen Shui-bian of the independence-leaning DPP won the presidency in 2000, ending the KMT's 51-year grip on power. He was re-elected last year.

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