Xi Jinping hosts KMT's Lien Chan over hometown Shaanxi cuisine

Taiwan’s former vice president Lien Chan (left) meets with President Xi Jinping in Beijing. Photo: AP

Communist Party chief Xi Jinping and honorary Kuomintang chairman Lien Chan cemented their relationship in Beijing on Tuesday over cuisine from their shared home province of Shaanxi.

Xi arranged for the special Shaanxi-cuisine banquet after their talk at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, adding a personal touch to the two leaders' meeting, Taiwan's United Daily News reported yesterday.

The pair spoke in Shaanxi dialect over the banquet, which included a range of famous local fare, like mutton pie, mutton soup and linguini-like noodles in soup. Xi's wife, Peng Liyuan, also shared in the hosting duties, the report said.

Lien, who was born in Xian, the provincial capital, spent his childhood there before moving to Taiwan with his family. Xi's thoughtful arrangement would have impressed Lien as Shaanxi's mutton pies and noodles were his favourite food, Xian Daily quoted Taiwan-Shaanxi association secretary general Zhang Zuopeng as saying.

Lien had tried to butcher goats to make his own mutton pies at home after he moved to Taiwan, Zhang said, adding that the politician never hid his love for his hometown food whenever he met his Shaanxi friends.

During the banquet, Peng shared her musical knowledge with Lien's wife, Lien Fang Yu, while the latter related her experiences babysitting her new grandson, the United Daily reported.

This was the second meeting between Xi and Lien since Xi took the helm of the Communist Party in October 2012. The two leaders first met in February last year, when Lien visited Beijing with his family and a business delegation, and Xi welcomed him at the Great Hall of the People.

In his latest visit, Lien received a special gift from Beijing party chief Guo Jinlong prior to the banquet, Taiwan's Central News Agency reported.

The politician and his wife were presented with two mainland-made Xiaomi mobile phones. Inscribed on the back of the devices was the phrase: "The mainland and Taiwan join hands to earn the world's money."

Zhang Zhijun, director of the State Council's Taiwan Affairs Office, also invited Lien and other Taiwanese delegates to inspect the progress of the capital's urban and rural construction, the news agency reported.

Lien has been Beijing's VIP since he met Xi's predecessor, Hu Jintao, in Beijing in 2005. He was the first leader of Taiwan's ruling Kuomintang to visit the mainland since the party fled to the island in 1949.

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