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U.S. Hints Visa Will Be Approved for Taiwanese Vice President

January 5, 1996

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The State Department signaled Friday that it intends to approve a request for a transit visa from the Taiwanese vice president despite appeals from China that it be rejected.

Spokesman Nicholas Burns said approval of the request from Vice President Li Yuan-zu would be consistent with past policy in such cases. He added that no final decision has been made.

Li plans to attend the inauguration of a new Guatemalan president on Jan. 14. His travel plans call for him to touch down en route at an undisclosed U.S. location.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry said China is ``resolutely opposed″ to Taiwanese authorities using ``transit diplomacy″ with countries having diplomatic relations with China.

In reply, Burns said, ``There’s much more at stake here (in) U.S.-China relations than the mere issuance of a transit visa if in fact that is what happens.″

Sino-American ties dropped to a low point last spring after the Clinton administration approved a request for a visa by Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui to attend a college reunion in the United States.

China objects to any action which gives legitimacy to the authorities on Taiwan.

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