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China's top official on cross-strait affairs visits Taiwan on landmark trip

Published on Jun 25, 2014 10:25 AM
China's Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun (right), who heads the Taiwan Affairs Office, shakes hands with Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Minister Wang Yu-chi during their meeting in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, in this February 11, 2014 file photo. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING/TAIPEI (REUTERS) - China's top official in charge of Taiwan ties will make a landmark visit to the island this week to try to woo Taiwanese who remain suspicious about a pending trade pact as well as meet a senior figure from the pro-independence opposition.

Mr Zhang Zhijun, director of China's Taiwan Affairs Office, will be the first head of the body to visit the island, where defeated Nationalist forces fled to after losing a civil war to China's Communists in 1949.

His trip from Wednesday to Saturday will focus not on the affluent capital Taipei but on the poorer middle and south, which have benefited less from trade with China and where pro-independence sentiment can run deep.

While China regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has never ruled out the use of force to bring the island under its control, relations have improved markedly since China-friendly President Ma Ying-jeou took office in 2008.

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