The Straits Times
Published on Feb 24, 2013

Taiwan's former vice-president to meet new China leader


TAIPEI (AFP) - A Taiwan politician known for making a landmark 2005 visit to China flew to Beijing on Sunday to meet China's Communist Party chief Xi Jinping in the highest level cross-strait meeting since Mr Xi took office, officials said.

Former vice-president Lien Chan led a 30-strong delegation of politicians and business leaders to China's capital where he is scheduled to meet Mr Xi on Monday.

Mr Lien said he will use the trip to meet "new and old friends" including Mr Xi, who is due to formally become China's president in March in a choreographed leadership change, and outgoing President Hu Jintao.

"Cross-strait ties took a twist separately in 2005 and 2008 and there's no denying that since then the ties have improved markedly," Mr Lien told reporters ahead of his departure, mindful of his ice-breaking 2005 trip as chief of the island's nationalist Kuomintang party.