Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian pledged Monday that before he steps down in May 2008 he will not declare formal independence -- a move China has said would require it to retake the island by force.
Chen's comments on the issue were his most explicit to date. They appeared to be aimed at reassuring Washington, the island's most important foreign partner.
"Some say I will do something unexpected during the (Taiwan) election season, including declaring independence," the Taiwanese leader said in an interview with The Associated Press. "This is completely not the case." [Full Text]
Read also U.S. again urges Taiwan to drop U.N. bid by Reuters.