President Lee Teng-hui this morning received credentials presented by H.E. Cornelius Van Niekerk Scholtz, the Republic of South Africa's new ambassador to the Republic of China.
Accompanied by Director John Feng of the ROC Foreign Ministry's Protocol Department, Ambassador Scholtz came to the Office of the President to present his credentials. Dr. Huang Kun-huei, secretary-general to the President, and ROC Foreign Minister John Chang were also present.
After the presentation, President Lee, on behalf of the ROC government and its people, extended a warm welcome to Ambassador Scholtz. However, President Lee also expressed his deep regret at the RSA government's unilateral decision late last year to sever diplomatic ties with the ROC at the end of 1997 .
President Lee said that, sharing traditional freindship with South Africa, the ROC, though facing new diplomatic situation in Taipei-Pretoria relations, hopes to, based on the principles of friendship, equality and reciprocity, maintain bilateral ties for the welfare of the peoples of the two countries.
In contrast to the Chinese regime in Beijing, which was founded less than fifty years ago and has being practicing communism, emphasized President Lee, the ROC has been existing for over eight decades and is an independent and democratic country. "The two sides of the Taiwan Strait are now under separate rule, and Taiwan is absolutely not a part of the communist China. This is a reality that the international community should recognize," added President Lee.
For his part, Ambassador Scholtz noted that his government fully understands the ROC's stance on cross-strait relations. On behalf of the RSA government, the ambassador also expressed his sincere appreciation for the assistance and support afforded by the ROC to South Africa over the past years and reiterated that South Africa will, on the basis of reciprocity, continue maitaining bilateral link and cooperation between the two countries.