A group of Chinese delegates visited Taiwan on Saturday, marking the first official group from China to visit the country since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Li Xiaodong, the deputy director of the Shanghai office of the mainland’s Taiwan Affairs Office, and five others, landed Taipei around 11 a.m. local time. They were invited by the Taiwanese government to attend the Taiwan Lantern Festival, an event that marks the end of the Lunar New Year season.
The Chinese delegation is hoping the visit would help to normalize “healthy” exchanges between the two sides, increase goodwill and further mutual understanding.
The officials were escorted by heavy security and did not speak to the media, the South China Morning Post reported.
The visit comes at a time of increased tensions between the two countries as China has sought to bring Taiwan further into its sphere of influence.
Taiwanese independence groups were there to protest the delegation’s visit, chanting slogans such as “China get out” and carrying signs reading, “Taiwan, China, one country on each side,” according to the Liberty Times newspaper.
The delegation was set to have lunch and dinner with Taipei city officials and visit the Taipei Music Centre in the afternoon.
CURRENTPH NEWS SERVICE