BEIJING (AFP) -- New Chinese leader Xi Jinping vowed Monday to pursue friendly ties with Taiwan and keep seeking "peaceful reunification" in a meeting with an influential politician from the island, state media reported.
Xi, who became Communist Party chief in November and is set to assume the country's presidency next month, held talks with Lien Chan, a former vice president of Taiwan, the official Xinhua news agency said.
China and Taiwan have been governed separately since 1949 when China's communists defeated the nationalist Kuomintang party in a civil war. The nationalists fled to Taiwan and have ruled the island for most of the past six decades.
Xi echoed Beijing's longstanding position, saying it was the "duty" of the party's new leadership to keep pushing for "peaceful reunification" and "maintain consistency in policies... by unswervingly upholding the one-China principle".
Cross-strait relations have improved since the Kuomintang's Ma Ying-jeou became Taiwan's president in 2008 on a Beijing-friendly platform. He was re-elected in 2012 for a final four-year term.