A Democratic Party trip to Taiwan during which chairman Martin Lee Chu-ming would probably have met President Lee Teng-hui has been called off. The cancellation of the visit, aimed at gaining information on political, social, economic and infrastructure developments of the Kuomintang-ruled island, comes amid signs of a thaw in relations between the party and Beijing. A party source admitted it was sensitive for such a trip to take place when members were waiting for Beijing's response to calls for dialogue. A party member said the delegates had planned to meet officials, politicians and media during the trip. But no specific request had been made to arrange a meeting with President Lee. Signs of the warming of ties emerged this month when Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen said Beijing was willing to discuss Hong Kong issues with people who held different views on democracy. The remarks were widely seen as an olive branch from Beijing to mend fences with the Democrats. The party's vice-chairman, Dr Yeung Sum, said last night that the postponement had nothing to do with the latest overture proposed by Mr Qian. He added that no specific timing had been fixed for the trip. 'The decision [to postpone it] had been made well before Mr Qian's remarks were made,' he said. He said Mr Lee had not visited Taiwan for a long time. 'Our original plan was to have a look at the latest development of Taiwan.' He said Mr Lee was now planning to visit other places. The itinerary could include Japan, Europe and Australia. 'Our earlier trip to North America was well received. We are planning some others,' he said. Dr Yeung said his party had yet to receive a response from Chinese officials on the request to meet in Beijing or Hong Kong.