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Ukraine: Taiwan Official's Visit Stirs Tension With China

Kyiv, 21 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Ukraine moved today to calm diplomatic tensions with Beijing over the recent visit of a top Taiwanese official to Kyiv.

"Nothing should cloud relations between Ukraine and China," said Ukrainian Foreign Minister Gennady Udovenko.

The visit of Taiwanese Premier Lien Chan to Kyiv yesterday was on a private invitation and is not grounds for a decline in Ukrainian-Chinese relations, Udovenko said. He did not provide details of the private invitation.

Earlier today, a spokesman for Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma said Kuchma did not meet with the Taiwanese leader. Taiwanese media reports the two leaders met today.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman in Beijing today voiced concern over Lien's visit, which he said was obviously made with political motives.

The Chinese embassy's spokesman in Kyiv, Chan Tsao, postponed the visit of a high-level economic delegation to Ukraine, apparently because of the visit. China is opposed to any country that makes official contacts with Taiwan, which Beijing regards as a renegade province.