Chinese President Xi Jinping met with the chairman of Taiwan's ruling Nationalist Party (KMT) in Beijing on Monday for the highest-level meeting between the two sides since 2009.
Speaking after his meeting with Eric Chu at the Great Hall of the People, Xi Jinping called for the two sides to put aside political differences and consult about the future course of their relations on an equal basis, according to reports by China's state-owned Xinhua news agency.
From Beijing, Xi was quoted as saying, is willing to give Taiwan priority in opening-up if the self-ruled island abides by the principle of one China.
He was alluding to the 1992 consensus, a verbal agreement reached then between the Communist Party of China and the KMT that only one China exists, but each side can interpret in its own way what that means. It has since served as the political foundation for relations across the Taiwan Strait.
The meeting between Xi, who doubles as general secretary of the CPC, and Chu, who was elected KMT chairman in January, comes at the tail-end of Chu's first visit as party leader to the Chinese mainland.
On Sunday, Chu, who is a likely presidential candidate in next year's election, led a 100-member delegation from Taiwan to Shanghai for the 10th annual economic conference between the CPC and the KMT.
In remarks at the event, he expressed his hope for increased cross-strait economic cooperation, including possible Taiwanese participation in the new China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.
Taipei was not included on the roster of the bank's founding members, announced last month, due to disagreements with Beijing over what name it should use.
The meeting of the two party leaders comes as the KMT struggles to maintain political power in the face of increasing public wariness of its handling of relations with China.
The party, which has staked its future on improving ties with the Chinese mainland, suffered an unprecedented defeat in last year's local elections amid fears that its policies would lead to a loss of Taiwanese economic independence. The elections capped off a turbulent year in Taiwanese politics, perhaps best symbolized by massive protests last May against the KMT's efforts to conclude a free-trade agreement with China.
For China, the KMT has been a dependable partner in building closer ties, and its recent weakness has stoked concerns about the future of cross-strait relations if a party less friendly to Beijing were to take power.
China and Taiwan split in 1949 following a civil war that left the Communists in control of the mainland while the Nationalists fled to Taiwan.
Cross-strait relations have improved greatly since 2008, when the KMT returned to power, ending eight years of rule by the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party.
Under President Ma Ying-jeou, who took power then, economic ties between the two sides have flourished as have exchanges between the ruling political parties, while there has also been limited high-level government-to-government contact.
The two parties' heads first met in 2005, during which time the DPP was still in power. The first summit between the heads of the CPC and the KMT as ruling parties took place in 2008 and the last one was in 2009.