With the mainland's cabinet reshuffle taking place next month, Taiwanese media have begun speculating on who Beijing will appoint as its top officials responsible for cross-strait affairs.
Speculation is rife that Yu Zhengsheng, a member of the all-powerful Politburo Standing Committee, and Commerce Minister Chen Deming are two officials being considered for cross-strait posts.
Taiwanese media carried reports yesterday that Yu spoke at the Communist Party's 2013 annual work session on Taiwan affairs, held in Beijing on Tuesday, suggesting that he might be named deputy head of the party's leading group for Taiwan affairs. The group is generally headed by the party secretary.
Jia Qinglin , chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, is the current deputy head of the group, with outgoing president Hu Jintao being the leader.
Both had stepped down from the Politburo Standing Committee in November's party congress and will retire at next month's annual meetings of the National People's Congress and the CPPCC. Meanwhile, Yu is the only Politburo Standing Committee member in the upcoming CPPCC session, suggesting he would almost certainly head the CPPCC.
On Tuesday, Yu stressed the mainland would strive to increase mutual political trust across the strait, expand exchanges at grass-roots levels and speed up cross-strait co-operation in the industrial and financial sectors.
Taiwanese media focused on Yu's call for academic circles on both sides to begin dialogue on resolving cross-strait political issues. He also said that peaceful relations was the only path to peaceful unification.
Taiwanese media have also speculated on the possibility that Chen could be named head of the Beijing-based Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait (Arats), which was formed in the 1990s to represent Beijing in dealing with Taiwan, in the absence of formal ties.
The Taipei-based United Daily News reported that Chen, who failed to be elected as a member of the party's Central Committee, was likely to replace the current head of Arats, Chen Yunlin , who will reportedly retire soon.
If Chen Deming joined Arats, the newspaper said, Beijing's cross-strait work policy would likely become even more resourceful, given his rich experience in international trade talks.