President Lee Teng-hui this morning received a group of visiting Russian parliamentarians and exchanged views with them on ROC-Russia relations.
President Lee said that after the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Russia, a country with great potentials, still plays an important role in the international society and has a considerable influence on Europe and Asia.
President Lee also pointed out that, because of geographical distance and political factors, the ROC and Russia lack mutual contact in the past decades and do not understand each other very well. Therefore, both countries should increase political as well as economic exchanges to promote bilateral relationship, he added.
Accompanied by ROC Vice Foreign Minister Ou Hung-lian and Mr. Victor Trifonov, representative of the Moscow-Taipei Economic and Cultural Coordination Commission in Taipei, the eight-member Russian parliamentary delegation led by Mr. Alekcey Mitrofanov came to the Office of the President for the meeting. Also present were Dr. Ding Mou-shih, secretary-general of the ROC National Security Council, and Mr. Stephen S. F. Chen, deputy secretary-general to the President.
Mr. Mitrofanov had come to Taiwan in March 1996 as an observer during the ROC's first popular election for the president and vice president. After going back to Russia, he held a hearing in the Duma (Russian lower house of parliament) where he openly advocated the establishment of Russia-ROC diplomatic relations and later on helped set up the Russian representative office in Taipei.
President Lee thanked Mr. Mitrofanov for his firm support for the enhancement of ROC-Russia relations.
On the current political and economic situations in Russia, President Lee noted that, political and economic reforms should go hand in hand, "otherwise the imbalance of the two would cause a lot of thorny problems". Mr. Mitrofanov agreed, saying that Russia, which underwent political reform before embarking on economic reform, is a bad example.
Mr. Mitrofanov also reiterated that he will keep promoting political and economic exchanges between the two countries.