Strait Talking

In the campaign ahead of Taiwan's march 20 presidential election, incumbent Chen Shui-bian has gone far beyond his predecessors in saying the island is an autonomous nation, not a breakaway province destined to be reunited with China. In addition, Chen has angered Beijing by planning to hold a controversial referendum on cross-strait issues on election day. In contrast, the main opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), argues that warmer relations with China will benefit Taiwan's economy. Chen explained his stance last week to TIME's Executive Editor for Asia, Anthony Spaeth, and reporters Andrew Perrin and Joyce Huang.

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