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Fujian governor begins five-day Taiwan visit

TAICHUNG, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Governor of southeast China's Fujian province Su Shulin arrived in Taiwan Saturday for a five-day visit, during which he is expected to pay visits to grassroots communities and cement business ties between Fujian and Taiwan.

Su, turning 50 this month, is the mainland's second high-level local official to visit the island this year. Beijing mayor Guo Jinlong wrapped up a cultural exchange trip to the island in February.

Upon his arrival, Su highlighted the common ancestry of Taiwanese people and residents in Fujian. He told local media that he hopes to develop the bond between people in his province and their Taiwanese compatriots during his trip.

The Taiwan Strait separates Taiwan from Fujian, located on the southeast coast of the Chinese mainland. About 80 percent of Taiwanese can trace their ancestral links to Fujian.

Su, who is leading a delegation that includes two vice governors of Fujian, is expected to visit the cities of Taichung, Taipei and Tainan during his trip. Su will meet with local farmers, fishermen and young entrepreneurs.

The governor is also scheduled to visit Cecelia Koo, wife of the late Straits Exchange Foundation Chairman Ku Chen-fu, as well as meet with Kuomintang Honorary Chairman Lien Chan.

After his arrival on Saturday, Su visited a local temple fair, sampling local food and chatting with vendors.

Also on Saturday, more than 600 Fujian tourists arrived in Taichung. They are the first group of 10,000 Fujian tourists who are scheduled to visit Taiwan in the coming months.

At a welcoming ceremony, Su said about 280,000 mainland tourists are expected to visit Taiwan via Fujian in 2012.

Fujian is considered to be the forefront of cross-Strait tourism cooperation. In 2011, about 235,000 mainland tourists traveled to Taiwan via ports in Fujian, a year-on-year increase of 24.5 percent. In the same year, Fujian registered more than 1.85 million trips made by Taiwanese, 17.9 percent higher than that of the previous year.