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By Bernadette H. Carreon

KOROR, Palau (Palau Horizon, Oct. 3) – World leaders yesterday congratulated Palau on its Independence Day.

Presidential Chief of Staff Billy G. Kuartei read congratulatory messages of the leaders during the 13th Independence Day festivities at the Capitol.

United States President George W. Bush said that the America is looking forward to a" continued productive and close friendship in the coming years."

"The U.S. has a long and enduring tradition of friendship with the Republic of Palau. On this special occasion, I want to thank you for your commitment to this close relationship and to express my appreciation for the contribution of Palauans who are serving in the U.S. Armed Forces," President Bush said.

Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian meanwhile said that under the leadership of Remengesau, the relationship between the two countries has strengthened.

"I take great pleasure in extending to your Excellency and the people of Palau your noble country our sincere felicitations and warmest congratulations on the auspicious occasion of the Independence anniversary of the Republic of Palau," Chen said in a letter read before hundreds of attendees during the celebration.

He added, "Please accept my best wishes for your excellency’s personal well-being and continued prosperity of the Republic of Palau."

Japan Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda also sent its congratulations to Palau.

" I am pleased to note that Japan and the Republic of Palau have been enjoying friendly and cooperative relations over the years and wish to further strengthen excellent relations existing between the two countries on the bilateral bases as well as the international area," Fukuda said.

Palau also received congratulatory messages from leaders of Germany, Papua New Guinea and Thailand among others.

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