Taiwan's president faced a test of his independence-minded policies toward China on Saturday, as voters cast ballots to elect a &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/cis/2002/12/04/40365.html ' target=_blank>National Assembly charged with amending Taiwan's constitution.
Recent visits to the mainland by two opposition leaders transformed the poll into a test of strength for President Chen Shui-bian's ruling Democratic Progressive Party and its policies toward independence.
Taiwan and China split after a protracted civil war in 1949, China claims Taiwan as its territory and has threatened to attack if it makes its de facto independence permanent.
Lien Chan of the Nationalist Party and &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/main/2002/01/25/26007.html ' target=_blank>James Soong of the People First Party, who recently visited China, support eventual unification with the mainland. Chen wants to strengthen Taiwan's status as a self-governing entity a desire that exasperates Beijing, and changes the nature of Saturday's poll, reports ABC News.