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Clinton Wants Taiwan, China To Meet

March 18, 2000

WASHINGTON (AP) _ China and Taiwan should renew peaceful dialogue now that the island’s voters have brought an independence-minded party to power, President Clinton said Saturday.

``The United States strongly supports such dialogue and is committed to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the region,″ the president said in a statement.

Clinton congratulated the winner, Chen Shui-bian, of the Democratic Progressive Party. He said the election, which ended a half-century’s domination of Taiwan politics by founding President Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist Party, ``clearly demonstrates the strength and vitality of Taiwan’s democracy.″

``During the election, all the candidates made clear their hope for restoration of constructive dialogue with the People’s Republic of China,″ the president said. ``I believe the election provides a fresh opportunity for both sides to reach out and resolve their differences peacefully through dialogue.″

Despite threats from China as late as last week of dire consequences if Chen were elected, Beijing’s early reaction Saturday was muted. State-run news media said in an official statement that China’s government and the Communist Party will wait to see what Chen says and does. The statement said his election ``will not change the status of Taiwan as a part of China.″

Clinton said the United States will continue to conduct close unofficial ties with Taiwan’s people through the American Institute in Taiwan ``in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act and our one-China policy.″

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