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Taiwan's Ex-President Lee To Visit US: Report

File photo of Lee Teng-hui.
Taipei (AFP) Aug 28, 2005
Taiwan's former president Lee Teng-hui, whose historic trip to the United States in 1995 prompted China to fire missiles into the Taiwan Strait, will visit New York in October, local media reported Sunday.

The China Times, citing an unnamed organiser of the trip, said Lee will definitely travel to New York City and that efforts were also underway to arrange for him to visit his alma mater, Cornell University, and Washington.

"Although Lee has retired, he is still influential in Taiwan and may not be seen as a civilian by the US government," the source was quoted as saying.

Following his retirement in 2000 after 12 years as president, Lee has served as the "spiritual leader" of the radical, independence-seeking party, Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU).

TSU officials were not immediately available to comment on the report.

In June 1995, Lee visited Cornell University in New York state.

His high-profile trip angered China, which subsequently fired ballistic missiles into shipping lanes off Taiwan's two major ports and held wargames on Chinese territory facing Taiwan.

The crisis did not end until March 1996 when the United States sent two battle carrier groups to waters off the island, in a clear warning to Beijing not to use force to settle its sovereignty dispute with Taipei.

Taiwan and the Chinese mainland split in 1949 at the end of a civil war.

Beijing regards the island as part of its territory awaiting reunification, by force if necessary.

The United States is the leading arms supplier to Taiwan despite the switching of its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in 1979.

All rights reserved. 2005 Agence France-Presse. Sections of the information displayed on this page (dispatches, photographs, logos) are protected by intellectual property rights owned by Agence France-Presse. As a consequence, you may not copy, reproduce, modify, transmit, publish, display or in any way commercially exploit any of the content of this section without the prior written consent of Agence France-Presse.

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Taiwan A 'Sovereign Nation': Rumsfeld
Washington (UPI) Aug 25, 2005
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld called Taiwan a "sovereign nation" Tuesday and added that it was Taiwan's choice whether or not to buy a $15 billion weaponry package on offer from the Bush administration.

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