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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (Radio New Zealand International, Jan. 3) – Taiwan’s Foreign Ministry has announced that President Chen Shui-bian plans to visit the Solomon Islands and The Marshall Islands at the end of this month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Ching-lung said the President would be attending the inauguration of the Marshall Island President Kessai Note for his second term.

Taiwanese television meanwhile reported that President Chen Shui-bian would pass through two non-allies on his Pacific trip - Australia or New Zealand, and Fiji.

If these countries approve Chen’s stopover, it could trigger protests from China because Beijing sees Taiwan as its breakaway province awaiting reunification.

January 4, 2005

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com

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