Taiwanese President Chen
Shui-bian, left, shakes hands with People First Party Chairman James
Chinese President Hu Jintao has invited Taiwan opposition leader James Soong to visit the mainland.

Mr. Soong's People First Party (PFP), in alliance with the Nationalists, forms the main opposition to Taiwan's ruling pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, led by President Chen Shui-bian.

The invitation, issued by Mr. Hu in his capacity as general secretary of China's Communist party, comes just weeks after China hosted a visit by a delegation headed by Nationalist Vice Chairman Chiang Pin-Kung.

A senior PFP official said Monday that Mr. Soong has accepted the invitation and will visit China as early as next month.

Beijing accuses Taiwan's President Chen of plotting to make the island independent, and has been trying to isolate him by wooing parties that favor unification.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.