A delegation from Taiwan's opposition Kuomintang (KMT) party is set to kick off a mainland visit on Monday.
The visit, led by KMT vice chairman Chiang Ping-kun, comes amid heightened cross-Straits tensions in the wake of China's newly-passed Anti-Secession Law.
The China News Service reported on Friday that seven KMT "lawmakers" will join the delegation for the visit between March 28 and April 1. The visit was decided at a KMT Central Committee meeting on Tuesday, the report said.
KMT Chairman Lien Chan first announced the planned visit at a public gathering on February 27, saying the trip was expected to help improve cross-Straits relations.
The party considers the visit, the first of its kind in 56 years since the KMT fled to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese civil war, as an "ice-breaking trip." During his visit, Chiang is scheduled to pay homage at the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing and the Mausoleum of the 72 Martyrs in Guangzhou.
The KMT trip to the mainland is believed to be conducive to easing brewing tensions across the Straits as Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party on Saturday holds a planned street protest against the anti-secession bill.
Both Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian and his predecessor Lee Teng-hui, spiritual leader for secessionist forces on the island, will take part in the rally.
The National People's Congress, China's top legislature, passed the anti-secession law on March 14 in a bid to deter "Taiwan independence" secessionist forces from pursuing Taiwan's breakaway from China.
While promoting peaceful reunification between Taiwan and the mainland, the bill stipulates the employment of non-peaceful means and other necessary measures only as a last resort should all efforts for peaceful reunification fail.
It, however, has been distorted by secessionists as "a war mobilization order" to authorize an attack against the island at any time.
(China Daily March 26, 2005)