Taiwan: foreign minister hold talks with Hezbollah leader

James Huang met Nasrallah during a visit to Lebanon in April to strengthen relations with the Middle Eastern country, Foreign Ministry spokesman Michel Lu said.

Both the U.S. and Israel asked Taiwan for a clarification following Huang's visit, but discussion of the matter has now been shelved, Lu said. Taiwan has had no contact with Hezbollah since the meeting with Nasrallah, he added.

Hezbollah, which Nasrallah has headed since the early 1990s, carried out a 1983 attack on a Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 U.S. servicemen. It is included on a list of terror organizations compiled by the U.S. Department of State.

Most recently it has been involved in more than three weeks of deadly combat with Israel. The fighting broke out after Hezbollah guerrillas captured two Israeli soldiers in a cross-border raid on July 12.

Taiwan maintains good relations with both the Jewish state and the United States, its major arms supplier and key diplomatic benefactor.

Ruth Kahanoff, Israel's representative in Taiwan, said despite the Huang-Nasrallah meeting, relations with the Taiwan government are normal.

There was no immediate comment on Huang's meeting from the U.S. representative office in Taiwan, the AP reports.

The Huang-Nasrallah meeting was first reported by Taiwan's mass circulation Apple Daily. Hezbollah also referred to it on its Web site.

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