- The Washington Times - Friday, October 31, 2003

NEW YORK (Agence France-Presse) — Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian arrived in New York yesterday for a brief stopover that has prompted an irritated China to warn of repercussions on Sino-U.S. relations.

Although Washington has insisted Mr. Chen’s visa is for transit purposes only, he was to meet with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, accept an award from the International League of Human Rights, and deliver a speech on human rights.

A dinner reception was also scheduled, co-hosted by Mr. Chen’s overseas supporters, the US-Taiwan Business Council and United Defense, a major U.S.-based defense devices manufacturer.

Outside the Waldorf-Astoria hotel where Mr. Chen was to receive his award, two groups of rival demonstrators, separated by a heavy police presence, traded insults and slogans shouted over huge public-address systems.

On the anti-Chen side, several hundred overseas Chinese students and members of Chinese-American groups chanted, “China forever,” and “down with Taiwan independence.”

Some 100 yards away, a smaller group of Taiwanese-Americans waved banners supporting Mr. Chen and shouted, “shame on China, shame on China.”

Mr. Chen is scheduled to leave for Panama tomorrow.

China, which considers Taiwan part of its territory, warned Wednesday of consequences for Sino-U.S. relations if Mr. Chen were allowed to engage in “unsuitable” activities during his visit in New York.

The United States has committed itself for the past 31 years to a “one China” policy — that there is only one China and Taiwan is part of it . In 1979, seven years after that policy was enunciated in a Sino-U.S. comunique, the United States switched its diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing.

But Washington has maintained close economic and defense ties with Taipei, and remains the leading arms supplier to the island.

In an interview published yesterday in USA Today, Mr. Chen defended his call for a constitutional referendum in Taiwan, saying it had nothing to do with the island’s independence.

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