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President Chen Welcomes Dominican President Hipolito Mejia

Ilan, Taiwan, March 25 (CNA) President Chen Shui-bian presided over an official welcoming ceremony for visiting Dominican President Hipolito Mejia Sunday in northeastern Taiwan's Ilan County. 

Mejia was accorded full military honors, including a 21-gun salute, in the ceremony held at Ilan County Stadium. It is the first time that the Republic of China has held a welcoming ceremony for a visiting foreign head of state in Ilan as part of the government's efforts to promote balanced development throughout the island. 

During the ceremony, Chen and Mejia jointly reviewed the ROC's armed forces honor guards. Ilan County Magistrate Liu Shou-cheng presented a "Key to Ilan" to Mejia as a gift. 

President Chen said in a speech that the ROC and the Dominican Republic share a long-term cordial relationship. "We hope to further beef up our cooperative ties through Mejia's current state visit," he added. 

For his part, Mejia said he admires the ROC's achievements in various fields, particularly its economic prosperity, political democratization and information-technology development. 

Earlier in the day, Chen and Mejia took a ride on a special train from Taipei to Ilan for the official welcoming ceremony. During the train ride, Chen personally introduced many of northeastern Taiwan's tourist attractions, including the turtle-shaped offshore Kueishan Island. They also sampled the delights of Taiwanese cooking from lunch boxes prepared by Taiwan Railway Administration. 

ROC Foreign Minister Tien Hung-mao, Justice Minister Chen Ding-nan and many other senior officials also attended the official welcoming ceremony. 

During his stay, he will exchange views with President Chen on the current international situation, regional issues in the Asia-Pacific and Latin American areas as well as bilateral matters of mutual concern.



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