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US Representative in Taiwan Resigns - 2004-04-08

The head of the de facto U.S. diplomatic mission in Taiwan has resigned, after a series of statements that apparently angered China.

U-S State Department spokesman Adam Ereli said Therese Shaheen submitted a letter of resignation to Secretary of State Colin Powell, saying she wants to spend more time with her daughter. But published reports indicate the Bush administration threatened to fire her if she did not resign.

Diplomatic sources tell reporters Beijing has complained on several occasions that Ms. Shaheen is pro-Taiwan. They say she has not faithfully reflected Bush administration policy in recent statements. Details of those statements are not clear.

Mr. Ereli said China did not call for Ms. Shaheen to be removed from her post, but he said Beijing may have brought up her status in some forum. He did not elaborate.

Taiwan's foreign ministry says Ms. Shaheen's resignation will not change relations between the island and the United States.

Ms. Shaheen was appointed chair of the American Institute in Taiwan at the end of 2002. The institute, created in 1979, handles relations between the United States and Taiwan.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.