Date
19 January 2017
Kuomintang chairman Eric Chu will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping during a forum in Shanghai in May. Photo: Reuters
Kuomintang chairman Eric Chu will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping during a forum in Shanghai in May. Photo: Reuters

Kuomintang chief to meet Xi Jinping in Shanghai

The head of Taiwan’s ruling party plans to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping next month.

Eric Chu, who succeeded embattled President Ma Ying-jeou as Kuomintang chairman in January, said “a plan for a meeting of the two party leaders is being arranged” at a forum in Shanghai in May, the French news agency AFP reported.

It will be the first trip by a Kuomintang leader since 2008. President Xi is also the head of the Communist Party of China.

Details of the meeting have not yet been finalized, Chu said. 

Local media said Chu would fly to Shanghai on May 2 and address the forum’s opening the next day, adding that he also plans to speak to university students there.

In 2005 Lien Chan made the first trip to the mainland by a KMT head since the two sides split at the end of a civil war in 1949.

The landmark visit paved the way for fast-improving relations since Ma came to power in 2008. He was re-elected in 2012.

Ma was also party chairman from 2009-2014, but despite the improved ties he never traveled to the mainland. Wu Po-hsiung was the last KMT chairman to visit the mainland, in 2008.

The KMT suffered its worst-ever showing in local polls in November — seen as a barometer for presidential elections in 2016 — with its Beijing-friendly policy blamed for alienating many voters.

Despite the setback, Ma said last week ties with China were “back to normal”. Government surveys indicated a decline in the number of people who oppose the pace of his cross-strait rapprochement, the report quoted him as saying.

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