(dpa) - Taiwan vice president-elect Vincent Siew flew to China Friday on a landmark visit that was expected to set the tone for future Taipei-Beijing ties.
Siew led a delegation to southern China's Hainan Island to attend the Bo'ao Forum for Asia, which is modelled after the World Economic Forum held every year in Davos, Switzerland, but the media's attention was to be on Siew's interaction with Chinese President Hu Jintao.
Siew and Hu are to meet Saturday, the opening day of the forum, but it was not clear whether Hu would have a private meeting with Siew on the sidelines of the forum.
According to Taiwan's CTI TV, China first scheduled a private meeting, changed it to Hu holding a dinner party for Siew and then changed it again to Hu receiving the Taiwan delegation.
Siew is to preside over the Taiwan-China forum Sunday and return home Sunday evening.
Siew and his running mate, Ma Ying-jeou, of the pro-China opposition Nationalist Party, or Kuomintang, won a landslide victory March 20 over their rivals from the independence-leaning ruling Democratic Progressive Party. The are to be sworn in May 20.
Speaking to reporters at Taoyuan International Airport outside Taipei, Siew said the purpose of his trip was to introduce Taiwan's economic blueprint to foreign countries so Taiwan could quickly link up with the world.
"We will also use this opportunity to make friends," he said.
Taiwan and China split in 1949 when the Chinese Nationalists lost the Chinese Civil War and fled to Taiwan to set up a government in exile.
China regards Taiwan, which is recognized by 23 countries, as Beijing's breakaway province, and Chinese leaders have shunned contact with Taiwan leaders.
Because of political sensitivity, Siew is attending the Bo'ao Forum for Asia in his capacity as chairman of the private Cross-Straits Common Market Foundation.
Hu was scheduled to address the opening of the annual regional economic forum, started by China and 25 other Asian nations in 2001 to discuss economics and other major issues.