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President Lee Meets with U.S. Congressmen

President Lee Teng-hui said this morning that the government and people of the Republic of China would never accept Beijing's "one country, two systems" formula for the unification of China.

The President reiterated that, although the Republic of China is committed to national unification, she also aims to create a free, democratic country rather than be put under socialism.

President Lee made the remarks while meeting with a visiting U.S. congressional delegation led by Rep. Ben Gilman (R-NY), chairman of the House Committee on International Relations.

Other visitors included Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY), Rep. Eni. F. H. Faleomavaega (D-AS), Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), and Rep. Alcee Hastings (D-FL). They were accompanied by ROC Vice Foreign Minister Chen Chien-jen and Director Darryl Johnson of the American Institute in Taiwan's Taipei Office 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 of the Office of the President.

The President Lee said that the formula Beijing imposes on Hong Kong can not be applied to the Republic of China. "Hong Kong was a colony, but the ROC is an independent, democratic and free country," he pointed out.

He also told his guests that the ROC's national policy stems from three basic objectives: to safeguard the security of Taiwan by transforming the confrontation between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait into peaceful competition; to replace the authoritarian system of the ROC with a democratic one; and to pragmatically seek appropriate international status for the ROC.

The President noted that Taiwan attaches great importance to the development of its relations with the Chinese mainland and that cross-strait exchanges should be promoted in a peaceful manner.

Meanwhile, President Lee expressed his appreciation for U.S. support for the ROC, pointing to U.S. President Bill Clinton's dispatch of two aircraft carrier battle groups to waters near Taiwan during the Chinese Communists' missile tests in the Taiwan Strait in March 1996.

This action, he said, is consistent with America's determination to defend democracy and freedom around the world.

He also thanked the U.S. government and Congress for the sales of defensive weaponry to Taiwan in accordace with the Taiwan Relations Act, adding that such weaponry would help protect the life and property of the people here and secure this country's free and democratic system.

Rep. Gilman thanked President Lee for giving his delegation members a clear picture of the ROC's current situation and the Taiwan-Mainland relations, and he also expressed his admiration for President Lee's commitment to democracy and freedom.

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