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First PRC central government official visits Taiwan

Mainland China's central government official in charge of Taiwan affairs is visiting Taiwan for the first time, turning a new page in the development of cross-strait relationship, according to the Chinese language World Journal.

People's Republic of China's Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council minister Zhang Zhijun is also the first mainland China central government official to visit Taiwan.

Zhang's visit follows the first ever meeting of senior officials of Taiwan and mainland China in February between Zhang and chairman of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council Wang Yu-chi which took place in Nanjing, China.

Zhang met New Taipei City mayor Zhu Li-lun yesterday morning before attending a forum consisting of scholars from both mainland China and Taiwan.

When asked by a Taiwan scholar why the PRC still would not recognize the legitimacy of the Republic of China government, Zhang said that it Taiwan's aversion from official political negotiations with the mainland that is creating room for doubt.

Analysts said that Zhang's visit to Taiwan will pave the way to opening official communication channels between the government on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

A student protest in Taiwan against a proposed service trade agreement with mainland China in April slowed the pace of the warming of cross-strait ties. During the protest, hundreds of college students occupied the floor of Taiwan's legislature in Taipei, halting normal operations of the country's top law-making body. The student protest ended with a promise from the legislature speaker Wang Jyn-ping to re-examine the proposed cross-strait service trade pact.

Taiwan signed its first trade agreement with mainland China, the Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement, in 2010.