TAIWAN WANTS STRENGTHENED TIES WITH MARSHALL ISLANDS

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TAIPEI, Taiwan (January 4, 2000 – Radio Australia)---Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Chen Chien-jen says Taipei will spare no effort to maintain and strengthen bilateral relations with the Marshall Islands.

Mr. Chen's comments follow the Nitijela’s (parliament’s) election of Kassai Note as the new President of the Marshall Islands Monday, after the Opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) won the November general election.

It is believed Mr. Note favors links to the People’s Republic of China - Beijing, rather than Taipei.

Last week, a ruling UDP official, Senator Alvin Jacklick, said it was premature to speculate over whether the new administration would cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

The Majuro Chamber of Commerce has urged the continuation of relations with the Republic of China - Taiwan.

For additional reports from Radio Australia, go to PACIFIC ISLANDS REPORT News/Information Links: Radio/TV News/Radio Australia.

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