Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung arrived in Nanjing, capital of east China's Jiangsu Province, on Monday afternoon, starting the first leg of a six-day mainland visit.
He was received with a hug by Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, at the airport as many Taiwan businessmen waited with signs to welcome the visiting team.
At Wu's suggestion, one minute of silence was held to mourn for the deceased in the May 12 Wenchuan earthquake.
"People in Taiwan have shown deep concern over the earthquake and the affected and quickly donated money and relief materials. Let me, on behalf of compatriots from the mainland, extend gratitude to them," Chen said.
"Currently, the mainland-Taiwan relations have entered a spring for peaceful development," he said, expressing hope that both parties would enhance exchange and cooperation in the new circumstances.
Wu expressed hope the two sides would lay aside disputes, seek agreement and create a win-win situation on the basis of the 1992 Consensus.
Nanjing is the first stop of Wu's visit. The city is where Sun Yat-sen, a founder of Kuomintang, or the Nationalist Party of China, is buried. Both Chen and Wu said Sun deserved respect by people from both sides of the Taiwan Straits.
Wu met with Liang Baohua, CPC secretary of Jiangsu, late on Monday. Wu said he hoped both sides could build more goodwill, positive interaction, greater mutual trust and benefits.
Wu was scheduled to pay tribute to a cenotaph memorializing Dr. Sun Yat-sen during his trip.
Liang said economic and trade cooperation between Jiangsu and Taiwan had been booming, and that he looked forward to expanded cooperation and exchanges with Taiwan in all fields.
Invited by the CPC Central Committee and General Secretary Hu Jintao, Wu will also visit Beijing and Shanghai.
(Xinhua News Agency May 26, 2008)