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Sat, Feb 03, 2001 - Page 4 News List

Macedonia insists it has no plans to cut Taiwan ties

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

Macedonian president Boris Trajkovski said yesterday that diplomatic relations between Taiwan and Macedonia remain intact.

Making a speech in Washington, Trajkovski said he has no plan to cut diplomatic ties with Taiwan. But he also hinted that Macedonia will have to make a choice between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait in the process of its entry into the EU.

As Macedonia wants to be integrated into the EU, the country will have to coordinate its foreign policies with the EU's, Trajkovski said.

All member states of the EU have diplomatic ties with China and do not recognize Taiwan.

In Taipei, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Henry Chen (陳銘政) also reiterated that Taiwan's diplomatic ties with Macedonia remain solid.

Chen also added that the recent reshuffle in Macedonia's ruling coalition will have no effect on the diplomatic ties.

The Democratic Alternative party (DA), one of the partners in the ruling coalition, was replaced by the Liberal Party in November last year, prompting worries in Taipei that relations between the two countries might suffer.

Taiwan-Macedonia relations have caused ripples in both countries since the two established diplomatic ties in January 1999.

In June 1999, then-president Lee Teng-hui's (李登輝) surprise announcement of US$300 million in aid to the Balkans caused a political uproar over "dollar diplomacy."

Relations with Taiwan were also a contentious issue during Macedonia's presidential elections in October 1999.

Trajkovski's victory in the run-off in December was seen as a plus for Taiwan's diplomats, as his party Macedonian Internal Revolutionary Organization-Democratic Party for Macedonian National Unity -- the biggest party in the ruling coalition -- had shown support for Taiwan ties.

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