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Wednesday, 21 January, 1998, 22:33 GMT
Taiwan minister in surprise trip to Indonesia

The prime minister of Taiwan, Vincent Siew, has returned from an unannounced visit to Indonesia, where he's reported to have discussed the financial crisis in the region with President Suharto.

Mr Siew refused to confirm the meeting but said the outcome of his visit had been better than expected.

The trip -- one of a number of similar diplomatic forays by Taiwan -- was made despite objections from China, which opposes any official contact between Taiwan and foreign governments.

The BBC China Affairs analyst says Taiwan is trying to take advantage of the financial crisis to break through China's diplomatic blockade of the island.

He adds that the continuing strength of Taiwan's economy is encouraging some Asian countries to risk Beijing's anger.

From the newsroom of the BBC World Service

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