07/23/2010, 00.00
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Taipei, chief Chinese negotiator returns after two years

Zhang Mingqing, vice president of Beijing’s Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits is back on the island after the protests in 2008. A new step forward in relations between the two countries.

Taipei (AsiaNews / Agencies) - China's chief negotiator for the "Taiwan issue" will visit the island next month, independent since 1949 but considered a rebel province by Beijing. Zhang Mingqing, vice president for relations across the Taiwan Strait, will attend an academic forum in the Taiwanese capital, where he is scheduled to hold a meeting with his local counterpart.

The confirmation comes from an executive Taiwan’s Straits Exchange Foundation, a semi-government body that regulates relations - political and trade - with China. This is the second visit by Zhang to Taiwan: the first occurred in 2008, and was strongly contested by a crowd of pro-independence demonstrators, who succeeded in knocking him to the ground.

During the visit, the negotiator will also visit the southern part of the island but will stay away from areas where, two years ago, he was contested. His visit marks a further step forward in relations between the two countries, after the contested free trade agreement signed by Beijing for the first time allowing direct trade.

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