President Lee Teng-hui stated firmly today that it is the basic position and policy of the government of the Republic of China to consolidate democratic development, secure freedom and human rights, seek sustainable economic development, enhance relations with other countries, and advance cross-strait relations peacefully and gradually.
President Lee made the remarks when meeting with Richard Bush, chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan (AIT) this morning. Among those present at the occasion were: Secretary-General Ding Mou-shih of the National Security Council, Foreign Minister Jason Hu, Deputy Secretary-General to the President Su Chi, and Lauren Moriarty, acting director of AIT Taipei Office.
The President said: "I have always been concerned about the development of cross-strait relations. Back in the days of my vice presidency, I was instructed by the late President, Chiang Ching-kuo, to formulate regulations allowing local veterans to visit their relatives in the mainland. Later, in my capacity as president, I declared the termination of the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion, and advocated that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait resolve their problems by peaceful means instead of military confrontation, which eventually led to the opening of the Koo-Wang talks. All these efforts are for the well-being of all Chinese people and conducive to the development on both sides of the Strait."
When Peking leader Jiang Zemin visited the United States last month, U.S. President Bill Clinton expressed his hope to Jiang that the leaders of the two sides of the Strait would meet and use peaceful means to solve problems between them.
President Lee said that President Clinton's remarks conformed with the stance and policy of the ROC. "We would like to see peaceful development in cross-strait relations and a resumption of cross-strait dialogue," he said.
The AIT chairman visited the ROC to brief President Lee on the summit meeting between Clinton and Jiang last month. He assured President Lee that U.S. policy toward the Republic of China remained unchanged.
During his talks with Bush, President Lee expressed his appreciation to the U.S. government and people for their understanding of and concern for the ROC, and to Bush himself for meeting with and explaining to local party leaders the summit meeting between Clinton and Jiang.
The President said, "We comprehend the intention of the U.S., and are grateful for its understanding of the ROC stance. In fact, the ROC's stance conformed with that of the United States." He added, "The ROC is committed not only to economic and democratic development, but also, has spared no effort to secure freedom and human rights.
The President stated: "The Republic of China is a completely free and democratic country. We listen to different voices and tolerate different opinions. Even though opposing views exist, our country's developmental direction and basic policy are both firm and correct."
He reiterated the ROC's commitment to the reunification of China and its stance to peacefully handle cross-strait issues.