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Saturday, 18 March, 2000, 23:13 GMT
Opposition wins Taiwan presidency

The presidential election in Taiwan has been won by Chen Shui-bian, the leader of an opposition party which supports independence for the island.

During the election campaign, Beijing threatened military action if voters chose Mr Chen of the Democratic Progressive Party.

Speaking to enthusiastic crowds in the capital, Taipei, Mr Chen described the result as a victory for democracy.

But he also stressed that he wanted to improve relations with Beijing.

In its first reaction, China said it would never allow independence in any form for Taiwan, but it was open to dialogue with the new president-elect.

Mr Chen's victory has ended more than fifty years of rule by the Nationalist party the Kuomintang in Taiwan.

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