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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 February, 2005, 16:43 GMT
Clinton urges Taiwan Strait calm
Bill Clinton gives speech in Taipei
Mr Clinton tried to emphasise the positive in Taiwan-China relations
Former US President Bill Clinton has called on China and Taiwan to set aside their differences and work together for common economic goals.

Mr Clinton made the remarks during a visit to Taiwan that has drawn criticism from China, but he said he stood by Beijing's One-China policy.

He later met Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian for a private dinner.

China fears Mr Chen wants to push towards independence for Taiwan - a move it would regard as an act of war.

The BBC's Chris Hogg in Hong Kong says that even though it is four years since Mr Clinton left the White House, Beijing does not like such a high-profile elder statesman setting foot on Taiwan.

The Chinese leadership regards Taiwan as a breakaway province and does all it can to exclude the island from international bodies and summits.

Security speech

Mr Clinton arrived in Taiwan on Sunday evening after a visit to the mainland on an official invitation.

He delivered a speech on democracy and security in Asia, saying that "common humanity" mattered more than differences.

"Whether in our backyard, in Taiwan, China...we cannot escape each other," he said.

"The more people have positive things to do, the less likely they are to fall into destructive patterns," he added.

Mr Clinton will continue his visit on Monday, meeting opposition leader Lien Chan and signing copies of his autobiography in the world's tallest building, Taipei 101.

Mr Clinton never visited Taiwan while he was US president.

However, correspondents say he is popular with the Taiwanese after making four trips there as governor of the US state of Arkansas.

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