Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian made a surprise detour yesterday to the United Arab Emirates - a country which does not maintain official ties with Taipei. Mr Chen was supposed to return to Taiwan via San Francisco after a five-nation visit to Central American and Caribbean allies. But as soon as he boarded his chartered plane, his aide, James Huang Chih-fang, told Taiwanese journalists the president's itinerary had been changed. 'Instead of making a transit stop in San Francisco, he will make a transit stop in a country which does not have diplomatic ties with us,' Mr Huang was quoted by the government-funded Central News Agency as saying. Mr Huang refused to identify where Mr Chen was going, but hours later, the agency reported the president had arrived in Abu Dhabi. The agency last night quoted Foreign Minister Mark Chen Tan-sun as saying that Mr Chen would meet UAE leaders during a 29-hour stopover to discuss military and tourist co-operation and oil exploration. It said Mr Chen would return on October 2.