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Taiwan opposition group in Beijing for meetings

Written by: Staff
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BEIJING, Apr 13 (Reuters) Taiwan's opposition politicians arrived in Beijing today ahead of an economic forum with China's ruling Communist Party, which is seeking to isolate Taiwan's president and court opinion on the island.

The former chairman of Taiwan's main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), Lien Chan, is leading the group of more than 100 politicians and businesspeople attending the two-day forum that starts tomorrow.

The meeting will discuss direct air links between Taiwan and the mainland and other ways to broaden trade, but -- with only opposition politicians representing Taiwan -- it is unlikely to prompt any immediate policy changes.

Before retiring in August, Lien made an historic visit to the mainland in April, ending decades of hostility between the KMT and the mainland Communists.

Shortly after arriving in Beijing on Thursday, Lien, again pressed for reconciliation between China and Taiwan.

''Economic and trade relations across the Taiwan Strait are extremely close,'' Lien said, according to China's official Xinhua News Agency. ''Today compatriots on both sides of the Strait need to engage in mutual help and benefit.'' While courting Taiwan's opposition parties, which favour closer contact with the mainland, Beijing has shunned Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian, who leans towards independence for the self-ruled island and has rejected China's conditions for talks.

China considers self-ruled Taiwan part of its territory.

Yesterday, the Director of the Communist Party's Taiwan Work Office, Chen Yunlin, urged Taiwanese investors to embrace the mainland and oppose Taiwan-government limits on investment in China.

''Compatriots on both sides of the Strait should not accept any meddling and should seize opportunities and strengthen cooperation,'' he told reporters, according to Xinhua. Chen said Lien will also meet Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing.

REUTERS SHB PM1921

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