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June 28, 2017

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Beijing welcomes visit by former VP Lu

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Beijing would welcome any visitors as long they embrace a peaceful approach to cross-strait relations, a Chinese official said yesterday in response to pro-independence ex-Taiwan Vice President Annette Lu's offer to visit China.

A spokesperson with the Taiwan Affairs Council under the State Council (Cabinet) said anyone hoping cross-strait ties can development peacefully are welcome to visit China in their "proper capacity," according to Taiwan's Central News Agency (CNA).

The spokesperson was responding to the press asking for comments on Lu's offer to visit China as a "member of the press."

Lu, from the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party, served as deputy to former President Chen Shui-bian for eight years, during which Beijing refused to resume dialogue with Taipei.

During her stint as vice president, Lu was actively involved in Taiwan's bid to return to the United Nations, from which it was ousted in 1972 when China was admitted to the world body.

Lu has also been advocating "soft power" in the face of such military and political giants as China, which has vowed to invade the island should it declare formal independence.

The CNA cited observers as reading the latest remarks by the Chinese official as a sign of Beijing's softening stance toward the former vice president.

The observers said in the past, Beijing would insist that these DPP figures renounce Taiwan independence before any visits to China could be possible.

But China's stance against Taiwan independence has not changed, the observers said.

Cross-strait tensions have eased since President Ma Ying-jeou took office last May. Many heavyweights from the pro-unification ruling Kuomintang, including its Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung and former Vice President Lien Chan, have received warm welcomes during their visits to China.

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