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Indonesia Calls Off Visit by Taiwan President


The Taiwan government has said President Chen Shui-bian has canceled a secret trip to Indonesia after officials in Jakarta said the leader was not welcome.

A spokesperson for Taiwan's Foreign Ministry on Monday confirmed the president had planned to travel to Indonesia for what he called a holiday. His planned trip included a visit to the resort island of Bali.

Last week, Mr. Chen and members of his cabinet denied news reports that he would visit Indonesia. Apparently, a Taiwanese official leaked his itinerary and the news of his trip appeared in an Indonesian newspaper last week.

Top Indonesian officials reportedly said President Chen would not have been welcome in Indonesia. They said previous visits by Taiwanese leaders had become too politicized.

Beijing insists that Taiwan is part of China and pressures other countries to avoid diplomatic relations with Taiwanese leaders. The island has been governed separately since Chinese Nationalist forces fled there after losing a civil war against the Communist military.

China has been increasingly successful in isolating Taipei in recent years; Taiwan is recognized by fewer than 30 countries.

Taiwan's Vice President Annette Lu, a vocal critic of Beijing's policy on the island, visited Indonesia a few months ago. The move infuriated Beijing officials.

Taiwan media reported that Mr. Chen was unlikely to reschedule his trip in the near future.

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