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Gingrich meets with Taiwan's president

TAIPEI, April 2 -- U.S. House of Representatives Speaker Newt Gingrich has met (Wednesday) with Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui ('Lee tung way'). The state-run Central News Agency says the Gingrich and Lee were expected to discuss relations between Taiwan, the United States and China during their talks.

Gingrich's visit to the Taiwanese capital, his last stop on a four- nation Asian tour, was to last just three hours. But despite the visit's brevity, it has swirled with controversy. Gingrich reportedly told a senior Chinese official during talks in Beijing on Sunday that the United States would defend Taiwan if China launched an offensive. A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Tuesday criticized the comments, saying, 'We don't need any foreigner making indiscreet remarks on this question.' China regards Taiwan as a breakaway province. Nationalists have ruled the island since fled the mainland in 1949 in advance of the communist takeover. While Beijing says it wants to reunify Taiwan to reunify peacefully with the mainland, it has not ruled out the use of force. Said the Chinese spokesman Tuesday: 'Whatever method is used to resolve the question of Taiwan is an internal affair of China.' In addition to stops in Taipei and Beijing, Gingrich has also visited Tokyo and Seoul. ---

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