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CPC, KMT leaders to meet in Beijing

BEIJING, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Leaders of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the Taiwan-based Kuomintang (KMT) party will meet in Beijing in May, a mainland official said on Friday.

Leaders of the two parties will exchange views on CPC-KMT exchanges and relations across the Taiwan Strait during the meeting, said Ma Xiaoguang, spokesperson of the Taiwan Work Office of the CPC Central Committee.

KMT Chairman Eric Chu will lead a delegation to visit Beijing after taking part in the Cross-Strait Economic, Trade and Culture Forum, which is scheduled to be held on May 3 in Shanghai, Ma said, describing the occasion as "an important event in the two parties' high-profile exchanges."

Relations between the mainland and Taiwan stalled when the KMT forces, led by Chiang Kai-shek, fled to Taiwan in 1949 after defeat in a civil war.

Business and personnel exchanges resumed in the late 1980s, and in the early 1990s the two sides started to engage with each other through the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits and its Taiwan counterpart, the Straits Exchange Foundation.

In a major breakthrough, the first meeting between top leaders of the two parties for six decades came when Hu Jintao, then general secretary of the CPC Central Committee, met with then KMT Chairman Lien Chan in Beijing in April 2005.

In the same year, the two parties established an annual cross-Strait economic, trade and culture forum as a key communication platform between themselves, as well as between the mainland and Taiwan.

Communication has picked up remarkably since 2008, when then KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou won the island's leadership election.

While meeting with visiting KMT Honorary Chairman Lien Chan in February 2013, Xi Jinping, who took the helm of the CPC Central Committee in late 2012, vowed consistency in policies toward Taiwan, saying the CPC was aiming for new achievements in cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation.

In January this year, in a congratulatory message to Chu after he was elected KMT chairman, Xi said he hoped the two parties can strengthen communication and deepen mutual trust.

In reply, Chu said he expected the two parties will continue to expand their exchanges, strive for mutual benefit and promote peace and prosperity across the Taiwan Strait.