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Taiwan KMT Applies for Mainland Official to Visit Island
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Taiwan's Kuomintang (KMT) yesterday officially filed an application for Beijing's top official on cross-Straits affairs to visit the island next month.

The China News Agency (CNS) reported that the application was submitted to Taiwan's "immigration authorities" by the KMT think tank, "National Foundation for Policy Research."

The application covers a 66-member delegation led by Chen Yunlin, director of the Taiwan Work Office of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee.

Chen, also minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, was has been invited by the KMT to attend a planned cross-Straits agriculture forum in Taipei from October 22 to 23.

If approved, he would be the highest-ranking mainland official to visit the island since 1949.

The CNS report said the mainland delegation consists of government officials, heads of relevant trade associations and agricultural firms, and experts on cross-Straits studies.

Among the mainland participants are representatives from some of the largest trade and agricultural firms such as the All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives, and fruit companies from Shanghai, Changchun and Wuhan.

The KMT think tank yesterday also published the schedule for the high-profile event.

According to schedule, the mainland delegation will visit Taiwan's central and southern regions on October 24 and 25 before returning to the mainland on October 26.

The KMT think tank has urged Taiwan's ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration to facilitate Chen's visit, which would introduce a new era of cross-Straits relations.

In a related development, Zheng Lizhong, executive vice-minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office, yesterday met with a delegation of Taiwan's Federation of Industries headed by Chairman Preston W. Chen.

Zheng encouraged more Taiwan entrepreneurs to invest in the mainland to help promote closer cross-Straits economic cooperation.

(China Daily August 22, 2006)

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