One thing that has become abundantly clear over the past couple of weeks is that Lien Chan is a key figure at the heart of efforts to end decades of enmity between the mainland and Taiwan.
Lien, the honorary chairman of Taiwan's governing Kuomintang, was back in Beijing last month to meet President Xi Jinping. He led an 80-strong delegation of business leaders and civic group members, but tried to play down his visit saying he had been given no formal mission by Taiwan's government.
Political analysts and observers, however, say Lien has become a key point man between the two governments as they edge towards closer ties.
The 77-year old politician made history in 2005 when he met then-president Hu Jintao in Beijing, the highest-level political contact between the mainland and Taiwan since the end of the civil war in 1949.
Lien had expressed a wish to visit the mainland to pay tribute to the founder of the Chinese republic Sun Yat-sen , who is buried in Nanjing .
Beijing, angered by the pro-independence stance of the then Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian, saw talks with Lien as a way of forging ties with the opposition KMT. He has since become a frequent visitor to the mainland.
Analysts said Lien was trusted by Beijing because he had publicly supported greater integration.
"This explains why Lien was twice invited by Xi for meetings at key moments to exchange views and offer proposals on how cross-strait relations could improve," said Professor George Tsai Wei, of the Chinese Culture University in Taipei.
Lien's first meeting with Xi took place in February last year when Xi, newly installed as Communist Party general secretary, wanted to assure Taiwan he would continue a policy of peaceful relations, Tsai said. The second meeting came straight after talks between Taiwan's mainland affairs chief Wang Yu-chi and his counterpart Zhang Zhijun in Nanjing last month, the first formal government-to-government talks in six decades.
Those talks "opened a new chapter of cross-strait relations so Xi thought it was about time he gave a more comprehensive perspective", Tsai said.
Wang Kung-yi, a professor of international affairs at Tamkang University in Taipei, said Beijing was also keen to emphasise the importance of Lien to counter the influence of Taiwan's President Ma Ying-jeou.
Ma has made forging closer ties with Beijing a key policy since he took office in 2008, but also has to court the pro-independence lobby who accuse him of selling out to the mainland, Wang says.
"Regardless of whether Ma is happy or not, Beijing has identified Lien as the top envoy who can be trusted … even though Lien no longer holds substantial power," Wang said.
Lien's contacts with Beijing have, however, created controversy in Taiwan. He angered Ma after his talks with Xi last year by calling for "one China, cross-strait peace, mutually beneficial integration and the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation".
The pro-independence camp called the statement treachery as it questioned the island's political sovereignty. Ma's government swiftly said it was "merely Mr Lien's personal view".
In his latest meeting with Xi, Lien still emphasised the one-China framework, but called on both sides to think what that might mean in practice.
He also told Xi Beijing should "look squarely at the fact that the Republic of China does exist and that it is an asset rather than a liability for both sides", Taipei's Central News Agency reported.
Professor Liu Guoshen, director of Xiamen University's Taiwan Research Institute, said the fact Xi did not rebuke Lien for using the island's official title indicated the president's flexibility and confidence in dealing with Taiwan.
"The mainland now has a better understanding of Taiwan's emotional needs," he said.
Xi told Lien at their last meeting that the mainland respected the social system and way of life Taiwan's people have chosen.
Beijing is willing to consult Taipei on an equal footing within the one-China framework about long-standing political differences, he said. However those talks go, you can bet Lien Chan will be at the heart of the process.