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China's Xi congratulates Taiwan opposition's newly elected leader

Chinese President Xi Jinping (Mainichi)

BEIJING (Kyodo) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday sent a congratulatory message to Eric Chu, newly elected leader of Taiwan's main opposition Nationalist Party, Chinese state media reported.

    As general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party's Central Committee, Xi expressed his expectations for the two parties to work together to maintain peace across the Taiwan Strait, and achieve national reunification and rejuvenation, according to Xinhua News Agency.

    Xi did not send a similar congratulatory message when incumbent Johnny Chiang was chosen as party chairman in March 2020. Chiang was defeated in Saturday's election, handing the party reins to Chu, who has called for resuming exchanges and communication channels with China.

    The Kuomintang (KMT) has placed at the foundation of Taiwan-China ties the so-called 1992 Consensus, an unwritten agreement purportedly reached in 1992 between the KMT government and Beijing that there is only one China and that each side can interpret that in their own way.

    As party leader, Chiang characterized the 1992 Consensus as "dated" and sought to cast Taiwan-China ties in a new light. Chu, on the other hand, has placed importance on the consensus.

    In his reply to Xi, Chu called for enhanced exchanges across the strait, noting that the people on both sides are all Chinese, according to Xinhua.

    In 2015, Chu, as chairman of the then ruling Nationalist Party, held talks with Xi in Beijing.

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