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President Chen Meets with Australian Congressmen

President Chen Meets with Australian Congressmen.
President Chen Shui-bian met with a delegation of Australian congressmen at the Office of the President on April 12, thanking the Australian government for supporting Taiwan and calling for more cooperation between the two countries.

While agreeing with Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's open declaration stating that Taiwan's ceasing of the function of the National Unification Council (NUC) and the application of its Guidelines rather draws a demarcation between the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the opposition parties than leading Taiwan to independence, the president further pointed out to the guests that his ruling DPP insists on Taiwanese people's self-determination in contrary to the opposition parties' looking for ultimate unification with China, which is against the country's mainstream popular opinion.

And the president and the guests talked about the growing trade and tourism between Taiwan and Australia. Currently Taiwan is Australia's eighth largest trade partner and the fourth largest export destination in the world, from which Australia enjoys a trade surplus of 1.9 billion Australian dollars. In the year 2005, nearly 108,000 Taiwanese tourists visited Australia and about 5,000 Australians came to Taiwan for pleasure. Based on this development, the president and the guests all wished the two countries could cooperate further.

The Australian Congressmen's visit to the Office of the President was accompanied by Chang Siao-yue, Taiwan's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

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