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Taiwan's President, VP Shot During Campaign Appearance; Both OK - 2004-03-20


Taiwan's President Chen Shui-bian has survived an apparent assassination attempt while campaigning for Saturday's presidential election.

Mr. Chen and his vice president, Annette Lu, were shot Friday while campaigning together in the southern city of Tainan. They were traveling in an open-top vehicle through the city's streets when unknown assailants fired at them.

The president was hit in the stomach and Ms. Lu was hit in the right knee. Both were taken to a local hospital, but neither was badly hurt.

Later in the day, Mr. Chen addressed the nation from Taipei and said he and the vice president are well. In a short videotaped address on television, he appealed for calm and said there is no security problem on the island. His rival in the campaign, Lien Chan, condemned the attack.

Police have made no arrests, but are offering a 90,000-dollar reward for information leading to the would-be assassins. Mr. Lien's opposition party has offered a 300,000 dollar reward.

In Washington, U.S. officials strongly condemned the incident, and have expressed relief at the news Mr. Chen and Ms. Lu were not seriously hurt. U.S. State Department spokesman Adam Ereli says Washington also hopes the upcoming election will proceed in a free, fair, and peaceful manner.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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