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Yearbook 1999

Taiwan. Relations with China were marked by both progress and war threats. A delegation from Taiwan's semi-official liaison agency SEF (Straits Exchange Foundation) visited China in June, together with its Chinese counterpart ARATS (Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait), to prepare a visit to Taiwan by ARATS Chairman Wang Daohan.

1999 Taiwan

In an interview for German media this summer, President Li Denghui said Taiwan's relations with China would be "intergovernmental." That statement led to very sharp reactions from China. In Chinese press it was called that Li's attempt to separate China and Taiwan would lead to disaster for the 22 million people in Taiwan. In addition, it became clear that China's army was in readiness on the mainland side of the Formosa Strait.

According to Countryaah official website, Macedonia became the second European country (after the Vatican City) and the 28th in the world (most small states in Africa, Central America and the Pacific) establishing diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Prime Minister Siew later denied in an interview that Taiwan would have bought the diplomatic recognition of promises of aid. However, both aid agencies and business delegations from Taiwan visited Macedonia during the year.

The new government, which was presented on February 1, did not contain many new faces, but looked almost like the former. In August, the ruling party appointed GMD (Guomindang) Vice President Lien Chan as presidential candidate for the March 2000 elections.

However, the presidential campaign was abruptly interrupted by the severe earthquake that hit Taiwan in September. Over 2,000 people lost their lives and 100,000 are estimated to have become homeless. The earthquake was measured at 7.6 on the Richter scale and had its center in the Nantu Province on the western most densely populated part of the island. A government spokesman admittedly declared after the disaster that "money is not the problem", but the earthquake will undoubtedly have consequences for the growth of Taiwan's economy, which has already shown signs of slowing down. In 1998, the growth rate of the economy was 4.83%, a high figure in Europe, but the lowest in sixteen years in Taiwan. A number of measures to stimulate the economy were therefore introduced in February. some restrictions were removed for the banks, as well as some obstacles to foreign ownership were removed.

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