Chinese official urges more contacts with Taiwan politicians

By The Associated Press | Posted - Mar. 3, 2017 at 7:21 p.m.

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BEIJING (AP) — A top Chinese official called for more contacts between politicians in mainland China and Taiwan despite Beijing's ongoing refusal to engage with the self-governing island's president.

The head of China's legislative advisory body, Yu Zhengsheng, said Friday that China continues its firm opposition to Taiwan's formal independence and insistence that its leaders accept that the self-governing island is part of China.

Yu said members of his body should increase contacts with elected officials in Taiwan and with ordinary people.

"Plant deeply the public opinion foundation for peaceful development between the sides," Yu said.

Yu made the remarks in an address at the opening of the annual session of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, which advises the rubberstamp parliament, whose annual session begins Sunday.

China cut off contacts with Taiwan's government following the inauguration last May of Taiwan's independence-leaning President Tsai Ing-wen. Despite years of economic inducements from Beijing, few in Taiwan are receptive to China's calls for political unification and most favor their current state of de facto independence.

Taiwan, a former Japanese colony, split from China amid civil war in 1949.

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