Vice President and Mrs. Lien Chan returned to the Republic of China at 1:00 p.m. today via China Airlines. Upon arrival, they were greeted at the Chiang Kai-shek International Airport by senior government and the ruling Kuomintang officials, including Premier and Mrs. Vincent Siew, Secretary-General to the President and Mrs. Huang Kun-huei, and Kuomintang Secretary-General Wu Poh-hsiung.
Vice President and his delegation left on October 5 for unofficial visits to Iceland, Austria and Spain. Ignoring various attempts by Peking, Iceland and Austria insisted on their firm and friendly stances to host the ROC delegation. However, Vice President Lien canceled his trip to Spain in compliance with Madrid's request, the result of pressure from Peking, for the ROC delegation to postpone the scheduled visit.
No press conference was given upon the delegation's return from Europe because of the unofficial character of the visits. Nevertheless, Vice President Lien expressed, through the media, his appreciation to the Icelandic and Austrian governments for the courtesy and hospitality accorded to him and his delegation, as well as his appreciation to the ROC citizens for their concern over his overseas trip.
The Vice President reiterated that visits of this nature are instrumental to promoting mutual understanding and relations and to learning from each other. His visit to Europe is a must for this nation's survival and continued development, and the ROC has no intention to create confrontation with Peking or to damage the interests of both sides, he said. Peking's intimidation and obstruction are viewed with aversion by the related countries, and are not beneficial to the improvement of cross-strait relations, he added.
Vice President Lien said that his visit not only demonstrates the ROC's determination to send its high-ranking officials to visit friendly nations, but realistically, has also been productive.
Establishing one of the oldest parliamentary systems in the world as early as A.D. 930, Iceland occupies a strategically pivotal position in the north Atlantic. A member of a free trade alliance among North European nations, the island state enjoys a high GNP and is known for its abundant tourism resources and advancement in fishery and geothermal technology. The small Icelandic population has self-esteem and a sense of justice, something which, the Vice President said, the ROC should learn.
On the other legs of his trip, Vice President Lien also met and exchanged views with officials from these countries, contributing to the improvement of the ROC's relations with them. The Vice President said that he will provide the experiences of his trip to the related government agencies for their reference so that they can continue to pursue and realize the breakthroughs made by his trip.