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SYDNEY, Australia (Australian Broadcasting Corp., May 21) – Taiwan has welcomed President Anote Tong from Kiribati, with President Chen Shui-bian describing the Pacific island state as a 'staunch ally'.

Mr Tong, accompanied by Mr Chen, reviewed a military honour guard after being greeted with a 21-gun salute on the square of the Presidential Office in Taipei.

Mr Chen says both countries shared the universal values of democracy and freedom.

Citing infrastructure development projects, including agricultural and fishery exchanges, that have been under way since the two countries established full diplomatic relations in 2003, Mr Chen says he hopes the results will 'emerge as a model of cooperation between democratic countries in the region'.

The Kiribati President arrived in Taipei on Saturday for a five-day visit, which is his second trip since his government switched diplomatic recognition from Beijing to Taipei.

China, which regards Taiwan as part of its territory, has condemned Kiribati's decision and has dismantled a mid-Pacific satellite-tracking base there.

May 24, 2006

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