The party secretary of Xiamen in Fujian province is expected to be appointed deputy director of the Taiwan Affairs Office and take charge of the key area of economic co-operation with the island. Zheng Lizhong , 54, would replace Li Bingcai , the office's executive deputy director, who is due to retire. Mr Li's term ends on a successful note after this month's historic visits by Lien Chan and James Soong Chu-yu, the leaders of Taiwan's main opposition parties. The appointment would make Mr Zheng the first Fujian native to serve in the central government's cabinet-level office. The news comes amid Beijing's offers to enhance economic ties with Taiwan, initiated during President Hu Jintao's meetings with Mr Lien and Mr Soong. Analysts say the expected move indicates that Fujian, a province directly across the strait from Taiwan and one of the biggest targets of Taiwanese investment on the mainland, will play an increasingly important role in Beijing's Taiwan programme. Analysts say Fujian officials are arguably better placed to negotiate Taiwan-related issues compared with officials from other provinces.