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Taiwan's President Calls for Direct Dialogue with China


Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian is urging China's Communist leaders to open direct talks with his government. His call Sunday follows last week's visit to Beijing by Taiwan's opposition leader, who held talks Friday with China's president and Communist Party chief, Hu Jintao.

Critics of the Taiwan Nationalist leader Lien Chan have accused him of pandering to China's communist leadership in a bid to undermine President Chen and his pro-independence agenda.

Speaking in Taipei, Mr. Chen said, "Regardless which political party or leader China wants to meet, eventually it must talk with Taiwan's popularly elected leader and the Taiwan government."

Mr. Chen says he will send a personal message to China's leadership through the leader of another opposition party in Taiwan James Soong of the People First Party, who is traveling to Beijing later this week.

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