Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) Mainland Affairs Council chief Wang Yu-chi said Tuesday before departing for China that he hopes his trip will be smooth and will help promote mutual understanding between the two sides.
Describing his four-day visit as "not easy," Wang said he and other officials traveling with him will exchange views on exchange policies with counterparts from China's Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO).
Wang made the comments at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport prior to heading for Nanjing on the opening leg of a historic visit to China, the first-ever visit to China by the top official responsible for Taiwan's relations with Beijing.
Later Tuesday, Wang will meet with TAO chief Zhang Zhijun in an unprecedented meeting between Taipei and Beijing's respective cross-strait policymakers.
The two sides will not sign any documents at the conclusion of the meeting but will each release a statement to provide details of their talks, Wang told reporters at the airport.
The Wang-Zhang meeting will begin at 2 p.m. at the Purple Palace Nanjing hotel and is expected to end within three hours.
The MAC and the TAO will hold separate news conferences at 5:30 p.m. and 6 p.m., respectively, to brief the press on the talks.
Issues on the agenda are likely to include establishing a mechanism for direct communications between the MAC and the TAO, protecting freedom of the press, and ensuring a balanced flow of news and information across the Taiwan Strait.
Most of Taiwan's news websites as well as government information are inaccessible in China whereas people in Taiwan can browse China-based websites freely.
The two sides are also expected to discuss Taiwan's efforts to participate in negotiations on regional free trade blocs such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
The following day, the MAC chief will visit the mausoleum of Sun Yat-sen, the father of modern China, and deliver a speech at Nanjing University on the importance of youth exchanges.
Wang will proceed to Shanghai on Feb. 13 to exchange views with scholars from think tanks there before visiting Radio and Television Shanghai.
He will visit a school for the children of Taiwanese businessmen in China on Feb. 14 before returning to Taiwan later the same day.
(By Bien Chin-feng, Jay Chen and Y.F. Low)