The Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and General Secretary Hu Jintao have formally invited the chairman of Taiwan's People First Party (PFP) to head a delegation to the mainland, a senior official announced on Monday.
"We believe that James Soong's visit would help promote exchange and contribute to the relaxation and stability of cross-Straits relations," said Chen Yunlin, director of the committee's Taiwan Work Office.
Chen, who also heads the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, China's cabinet, told Xinhua News Agency that he hoped the PFP would send personnel to the mainland as soon as possible to consult over arrangements for a visit from Soong.
Lien Chan, chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) party, is expected to visit the mainland soon, and the PFP has expressed Soong's desire to head a delegation before May 14.
On March 31, Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said the mainland would welcome the chairmen of political parties in Taiwan that accept the "1992 consensus," oppose secession and advocate the growth of cross-Straits relations.
Jia was speaking at a meeting in Beijing during the tour of the first KMT delegation since 1949, headed by PK Chiang, the party's vice-chairman.
Chen gave his support to the possibility of a mainland trip by Soong when interviewed by TVBS, a Taiwan-based television station, on April 1.
(Xinhua News Agency April 18, 2005)