China has protested to the US about a planned stopover in the country by Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian, AFP reported. Beijing claimed the move was intended to bolster Taiwan's independence movement, with foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao saying that Chen wanted to "undertake activities aimed at splitting China and ruining Sino-US relations". Chen was due to travel to Nicaragua on Monday, by way of the US, to attend the inauguration of President Daniel Ortega, who promised during his campaign to recognize Beijing over Taipei. It has since been speculated that Nicaragua may maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan in exchange for aid. Beijing and Taipei are battling over diplomatic recognition in a number of countries, mainly those in Latin America, the South Pacific and Africa.
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