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Taiwan Ruling Party Chief Arrives in China


The head of Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party has arrived in China for a landmark visit, the island's highest-level of contact with communist Chinese leaders in nearly 60 years.

Wu Po-hsiung's arrival in China's eastern city of Nanjing Monday was broadcast on Chinese television.

At the airport, he was greeted by the head of China's top government body on Taiwan affairs, Chen Yunlin.

Wu heads a 16-person delegation and is the first ruling party chief to visit the mainland.

On Wednesday, he is scheduled to meet with Chinese President and Communist Party chief Hu Jintao.

Since Taiwan's March elections, hopes have been running high that Taipei and Beijing may be able to put aside their political differences and boost economic ties.

The Nationalist Party of Taiwan's newly elected President Ma Ying-jeou supports stronger business and transportation ties with China. Wu's visit to China comes less than a week after President Ma took office, replacing President Chen Shui-bian.

Taiwan and China split during a civil war in 1949 and Beijing regards the self-ruled island as part of its territory. China has threatened to use force if the island takes any formal steps toward independence.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.