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MAC minister to visit China over Lantern Festival: source

TAIPEI--Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Wang Yu-chi may spend this year's Lantern Festival in China, a source familiar with the matter said yesterday.

Wang is scheduled to make a landmark visit to China after the Lunar New Year holiday, which lasts from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4.

The United Daily News (UDN) reported Monday that Wang will stop in Shanghai and Nanjing during his China visit.

Shortly after his arrival in Nanjing, Wang will meet with his Chinese counterpart Zhang Zhijun, minister of the Taiwan Affairs Office under China's State Council, according to the Chinese-language newspaper,

Wang will visit the Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum in Nanjing the following day and deliver a speech at Nanjing University, the paper said. He will then travel to Shanghai where he will visit a school for children of Taiwanese expatriates and attend a seminar with Chinese academics who specialize in Taiwan affairs, according to the report.

The MAC, however, has not confirmed the news report.

Asked about Wang's reported meeting with Zhang, MAC Vice Minister Wu Mei-hung declined to give any information.

She said only that Wang's trip to China is aimed mainly at promoting mutual understanding and facilitating implementation of various cross Taiwan Strait exchange programs.

Wu, who concurrently serves as MAC spokeswoman, further said the MAC will work out Wang's itinerary in line with the principles of parity and dignity and will uphold the Taiwan government's stance on cross strait affairs.

Wang and Zhang had a brief encounter on the sidelines of the last Leaders' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Indonesia Oct. 6, 2013. They addressed each other by their official titles and agreed to forge a mechanism for senior officials in charge of cross-strait affairs to conduct exchange visits on a regular basis.

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