A meeting between leaders of China's historic rivals, the Communist and Nationalist Parties, has taken place in Beijing.
It was the first time a Communist Party chairman had met a Nationalist Party leader since the Nationalists, the Kuomintang, fled to Taiwan following their defeat to Communist forces in 1949.
President Hu Jintao, who is also chairman of the Communist Party, welcomed Nationalist Party Chairman Lien Chan Friday. Mr. Hu says Mr. Lien's coming is a great thing for relations between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang, and for cross-strait relations.
Mr. Lien's visit, however, came amid an intensifying debate in Taiwan over whether the island should contemplate eventual reunification with the mainland or pursue formal independence.
Critics have accused Mr. Lien, who lost a presidential bid last year, of using the visit as an attempt to undermine Taiwan's pro-independence president, Chen Shui-bian.