Chinese prez invites Taiwan oppn leader

Agence France Presse

Beijing, April 18:

Chinese President Hu Jintao today invited Taiwan opposition leader James Soong to visit the mainland, just weeks after Beijing feted a high-level Kuomintang party delegation. Soong’s People First Party, in alliance with KMT, forms the main opposition to Taiwan’s ruling Democratic Progressive Party led by independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian. Xinhua news agency cited aiwan Affairs Office director Chen Yunlin. “We welcome other party leaders to come to visit the mainland who agree with the 1992 consensus on opposing Taiwan independece and advocate developing relations between the Straits,” said Chen. Lien Chan, chairman of the KMT, is expected to visit Beijing as early as this month following the KMT sending its first bridge-building delegation to China in more than 55 years last month.

The KMT fled to Taiwan after losing the civil war to Communist troops on the mainland and in 1949 set up their rival government in Taipei. Newspapers in Taiwan said Lien would sign an agreement with Hu to mark a formal end to hostilities between KMT and the Chinese Communist Party. Earlier, Chen warned opposition politicians against falling into Chinese

“traps” by visiting the mainland without prior government consent.