TAIWAN'S opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) has indicated its readiness to play a more active role in mainland affairs, including unofficial exchanges with Beijing authorities. However, DPP Secretary-General David Chiang told the South China Morning Post that progress in his party's relations with Beijing depended on whether the latter was willing to drop its hostility and prejudice against Taiwan's main opposition party. In recent months, a group of DPP leaders visited Beijing in their capacity as members of the Legislative Yuan. Mr Chiang said such exchanges were ''good for mutual understanding'', but he hinted further and higher-level visits would hinge on whether Beijing was willing to change its attitude towards his party. ''Beijing tends to raise its guard in matters relating to the DPP,'' Mr Chiang said. ''They [Communist Party officials] still insist on preconditions before they are prepared to talk to us. These include our accession to the principle of reunification [with the mainland].'' Mr Chiang said another delegation of DPP legislators to Beijing had been aborted because of these ''preconditions''. The Secretary-General, who is also a former DPP chairman, said his party was in principle against ''party-to-party'' talks on political issues, adding that, when the time was ripe, bilateral exchanges in this area should be conducted on a governmental basis. ''The Taiwan public would become suspicious if a certain party were to begin political talks with the Chinese Communist Party.'' Mr Chiang said another reservation of the DPP was that ''Taiwan is already seized with a mainland fever and we do not think it is wise to make it even hotter''. At the same time, the DPP has told the Taiwanese Government it wants to play a bigger role in the island's mainland policy. Mr Chiang said the DPP hoped its representatives could sit on the major agencies dealing with the mainland. ''However, the Kuomintang authorities want to shove us aside and they have not made a reply to our initiative,'' he said. Mr Chiang admitted that the DPP leadership was divided as to the pace with which they should pursue unofficial exchanges with mainland authorities. He said the issue of Taiwan independence would not be emphasised during the DPP's election campaign for the leadership positions in 22 cities and counties in December. ''The mainland authorities have underestimated the political clout of the DPP,'' Mr Chiang said. However, he added that cadres in southern China tended to be more flexible in their dealings with the DPP than bureaucrats in Beijing. Taiwan polls suggest the DPP, which controls one-third of the legislature, could gain 50 per cent of the popular vote in the December ballots.