The chairman of Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) party said on Tuesday would make party-to-party official exchanges with the Communist Party of China (CPC) from the end of August.
According to sources from Taipei, Lien Chien told a press conference that the first phase of exchanges will be conducted between six cities and counties on each Taiwan and the mainland.
Each location will select up to 30 officials to join visiting delegations, which will include non-KMT members concerned with development across the Taiwan Straits, said Lien.
The second phase will be among 10 cities and counties and the third phase will include Taipei and Kaohsiung, according to Lien.
The Taiwan and mainland exchange pairs will be: Keelung and Ningbo, Hsinchu and Suzhou, Taichung and Xiamen, Changhua and Qingdao, Tainan and Shenzhen, Kaohsiung and Fuzhou.
Lien expressed hope that the exchanges will not only mean increased communication, opinion-sharing and friendship among party officials, but also boost cultural and trade ties across the Straits.
Lien signed a joint press communiqué with CPC chairman Hu Jintao on his visit to the mainland in late April and early May, saying that the KMT and CPC would establish a platform for regular exchanges between the two parties, including mutual visits of party officials at various levels.
(Xinhua News Agency August 18, 2005)