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White House condemns Taiwan shooting

WASHINGTON, March 19 (UPI) -- The White House has condemned the assassination attempts on Taiwan's president and vice president during island campaigning.

Besides condemning the attacks, Bush administration spokesman Scott McClellan said Friday the calm that prevailed after President Chen Shui-bian and Vice-President Annette Lu both were shot in the city of Tainan "underscores the civic responsibility" of the Taiwanese people and the "strength of Taiwan's democratic system."

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Chen Shui-bian was shot in the abdomen while riding in a campaign parade. Lu was shot in the knee. The wounds were said to be not life threatening. Both later appeared in videotapes asking their supporters and the country to remain calm.

No suspect has been apprehended.

Chen, of the Democratic Progressive Party, is urging voters Sunday to approve increased defenses against missiles from mainland China, a move the United States and China oppose.

The Taiwan government, founded by Nationalists fleeing communist forces after World War II is regarded by Beijing as a renegade province.

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