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Chen's flight plan rerouted

May 6, 2006 at 8:58 PM

TAIPEI, Taiwan, May 6 (UPI) -- Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian had to wing it when the United States denied him refueling stops in San Francisco or New York.

Chen turned down an offer to allow him to land in Anchorage, Alaska. Instead, he flew via Abu Dhabi and Amsterdam for a state visit to Paraguay and Costa Rica, two of the few countries that recognize Taiwan as fully independent.

The president's political allies blamed the United States for humiliating him, while his opponents poked fun at him, the China Post reported.

"Chen is a visitor, but instead of allowing him to sit in the living room, they asked him to stay in the restroom in the far corner," said Yen Wen-chang, a legislator and member of Chen's Democratic Progressive Party. "To safeguard Taiwan's dignity, he refused to take the insults and we should all acknowledge his actions."

Some opposition politicians accused Chen of "transit diplomacy," suggesting he was trying to make Taiwan better known by passing through countries that do not recognize it.

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