4 Jan 2005

Taiwanese President to visit Solomons and Marshall Islands

9:49 am on 4 January 2005

Taiwan's Foreign Ministry has announced that President, Chen Shui-bian, plans to visit the Solomons and The Marshalls at the end of the month.

Foreign Ministry spokesman, Lu Ching-lung, said the President will be attending the inauguration of the Marshall Island's President, Kessai Note, for a second term.

Taiwanese television meanwhile reported that the President will pass through two non-allies on his Pacific trip - Australia or New Zealand, and Fiji.

If these countries approve Chen's stopover, it could trigger protests from China because Beijing sees Taiwan as its breakaway province awaiting reunification.