BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) – Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Taiwan’s ruling Kuomintang (KMT) Party Chairman Eric Chu on Monday.
They shook hands before heading into a conference room, according to images shown on the Taipei-based Sanlih Television.
Chu, who is also mayor of Taiwan’s New Taipei city, has led the ruling party since January, after President Ma Ying-jeou stepped down as chairman to take responsibility for the party’s biggest-ever defeat in local elections held in November.
Ma has said he doesn’t intend to seek the presidency in 2016, according to local media reports in Taiwan.
The KMT will select a candidate for the presidential election on Jan 16. Taiwan’s opposition Democratic Progressive Party nominated its chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen as its presidential candidate last month. On Sunday,
Chu met with China’s Politburo Standing Committee member Yu Zhengsheng in Shanghai, where Yu suggested discussions related to Taiwan’s role in the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, Xinhua reported.
Chu also expressed optimism that China supports Taiwan’s participation in regional economic integration in a meeting with Taiwanese businessmen in China, the Taipei-based Central News Agency reported.
Taiwan and China have been separately governed since Kuomintang leader Chiang Kai-shek fled to Taiwan in 1949 during a civil war with Mao Zedong’s Communist armies in China.
The first meeting between the parties was held in 2005 between then- KMT Chairman Lien Chan and then-China President Hu Jintao.
President Xi met with Honorary Kuomintang Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung in 2013 and Honorary Chairman Lien in 2014.