Chairman of Taiwan's ruling Nationalists to visit China ahead of 2016 presidential election

The chairman of Taiwan's ruling Nationalist party will hold talks with Communist Party leaders during a visit to China next month as the former bitter enemies further their rapprochement.

Eric Chu will lead a party delegation to attend a forum on relations across the Taiwan Strait in Shanghai on May 3.

China's Taiwan Affairs Office said Friday that Chu would also meet with unidentified Communist Party leaders to discuss inter-party exchanges and overall cross-strait relations.

The Nationalists under Chiang Kai-shek were driven to Taiwan by Mao Zedong's Communists amid civil war in 1949, leading to decades of hostility between the sides. Relations began to warm in the 1990s, partly out of their common opposition to Taiwan's formal independence from China.

The Nationalists face a difficult Taiwan presidential election next year.