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Vice President Lien Meets with AIT Chairman Bush

Vice President Lien Chan met with American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) Chairman Richard Bush today, and congratulated the latter on his assumption of AIT chairmanship.

During their talks, Vice President Lien extensively exchanged views with the visiting AIT chairman on Taipei-Washington-Peking relations. He stressed that the ROC's stance on seeking reunification of China is absolutely clear, but that China must be reunified under a system upholding freedom, democracy and human rights. It is an indisputable fact that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait are currently under separate rule; both sides should solve their differences by peaceful means and gradually move toward the goal of reunification, he said.

The Vice President said that the two sides of the Strait differed significantly in their definition of "one China," and that the ROC government and people could never accept Peking's definition. Through consultations, he continued, Taipei and Peking had reached a consensus five years ago that "the definition of one China is subject to respective interpretations by the two sides."

The Vice President said: "The ROC is now a full-fledged democracy, and an open society. Only a small minority here support the so-called "Taiwan independence." However, Peking has hindered the normal development of cross-strait relations by falsely accusing that we advocate "Taiwan independence." If the world is somehow misled by some incorrect international media reports and thus misunderstands or misinterprets the ROC's policy, future cross-strait relations would become even more complicated, a situation desired by none."

The Vice President said that the ROC does not oppose Washington's engagement with Peking or its efforts to persuade Peking to abide by international norms. However, the ROC maintains that the U.S. should simultaneously assist the ROC to participate in international organizations and activities, he said. For example, the ROC's accession to the World Trade Organization should be considered on its own merits and dealt with separately from Peking's application.

The Vice President told Bush that Taipei looked forward to strengthening its relations with Washington and appreciated all the assistance the United States had granted over the years. He expressed his belief that Taipei-Washington relations would grow even closer, now that Bush assumed the AIT chairmanship.

The visiting AIT chairman said that the United States would carefully manage its relations with Taipei based upon common interests, and would continue to promote exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. Bush explained that the "strategic partnership" Washington wished to develop with Peking contained no military implication but rather, expressed the desire to develop mutually constructive and beneficial relations.

Accompanied by ROC Deputy Foreign Minister Chen Chien-jen and AIT Taipei Office Director Darryl Johnson, Bush met with Vice President Lien this morning. Deputy Secretary-General to the President Su Chi was also present at the occasion. The meeting lasted for about forty minutes in cordial atmosphere.

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