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Press Release from the Office of the President

President Lee Teng-hui said, "the Republic of China is an independent sovereign state dedicated to freedom and democracy, and it unequivocally cannot accept mainland China's proposal of 'one country, two systems.'" He made the remarks when receiving former U.S. Senator Robert Dole today.

President Lee told the 1996 Republican presidential candidate: "the ROC is different from Hong Kong in all respects." The ROC has existed for 86 years and has enjoyed absolute sovereignty while Hong Kong was previously a colony, the President said. The ROC is clearly not a local government of mainland China as Peking has alleged, he added.

Accompanied by Christopher LaFleur, acting director of the American Institute in Taiwan, Mr. Dole, currently a partner in a Washington D.C. law firm, met with President Lee this morning at the Office of the President. Among those present were Ding Mou-shih, Secretary-General of ROC National Security Council; Jason Hu, ROC Representative to the U.S.; Stephen Chen, Deputy Secretary-General to the President; and Chen Chien-jen, Deputy Foreign Minister.

During the meeting, President Lee expressed deep appreciation for Mr. Dole's long-standing support of the ROC during his service in the U.S. Congress. The President said that last year, when Peking launched missile exercises to intimidate the Republic of China during this country's first ever popular presidential election, the U.S. sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to patrol the area near the Taiwan Strait. By so doing, the President said, the U.S. fully demonstrated its determination to secure freedom, peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.

Throughout his 35-years of service in the U.S. Congress, first as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and later of the Senate, Mr. Dole had been extremely concerned over the developments in the ROC. In a speech on U.S. policy toward Asia in May of last year, Mr. Dole maintained that Washington should make clear its position that Taipei and Peking settle their differences by peaceful means. While in the U.S. Senate, he had voiced his support for the ROC's participation in the United Nations.

Although it has been 12 years since he last visited the ROC, Mr. Dole commented that he still felt familiar with this country because he had closely followed its progress and development over the years. Mr. Dole also noted the impressiveness of the sustained rapid economic growth and the results of the democratic reform in the ROC under the leadership of President Lee.

The President replied, "the government and people of the Republic of China are freedom- and peace-loving and are devoted to the pursuit of national reunification." Consistent with his remarks to visiting American friends, the President indicated that the achievements and goals of the ROC over the past four decades were identical with the traditional American values of freedom, peace, democracy and justice.

Since July 22nd was Mr. Dole's birthday, the President wished Mr. Dole a happy birthday in advance. Mr. Dole responded jokingly that his wife was reluctant to let him travel prior to his birthday. By quoting a Confucian saying, the President expressed his great pleasure to receive a good friend coming to visit from afar.

Mr. Dole thanked the President for the good wishes and especially, for receiving him on a Sunday morning.

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