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President Lee Meets with Central American Delegates

President Lee Teng-hui today called on all the free, democratic and peace-loving countries in the world to stand on the right side of the history and join forces to move forward and struggle collectively for peace, freedom and prosperity of humanity.

On U.S. President Clinton's current visit to mainland China, President Lee said in his remarks this morning that like the rest of the world, the Republic of China is very concerned about this visit. In fact, he said, before President Clinton's departure for mainland China, Washington has reassured the ROC several times that "the visit will not cause any harm to ROC interests, will not change U.S. policy toward the ROC, and will not affect U.S. arms sales to Taiwan."

"I would like to express my affirmation to the U.S. government for honoring its promises to this country," President Lee said. "I believe you all hope as I do, that through this visit, President Clinton will contribute to democracy, human rights, peace, stability and prosperity in this region as well as in the entire world."

He also expressed this wish: "Through increased contacts with the outside world, Peking will become open-minded enough to resume constructive cross-strait exchanges in the earliest possible time, thereby promoting the peaceful development between the two sides of the Strait."

President Lee made the remarks when he and Mrs. Lee hosted a tea reception this morning for the participants in the Seventh Meeting of the Mixed Commission for Cooperation between the Countries of the Central American Isthmus and the ROC. On behalf of the ROC government and people, he extended his welcome to his guests who have come from afar.

This is the seventh meeting of the commission since its establishment in 1992, and the fourth time it has taken place in the Republic of China.

President Lee said that when he attended the summit in El Salvador with several Central American heads of state last September, all of the participants agreed to further strengthen mutual cooperation and exchanges.

Therefore, President Lee expressed his desire that all the foreign ministers attending the conference will exchange views extensively on matters of common concern between Central American countries and the ROC during the two-day sessions, so as to pursue the maximum possible welfare for their peoples and promote their friendship.

"Many Central American countries have long maintained cordial and good relationships with the ROC," the President said. In recent years, various cooperation projects have flourished, and they have made remarkable progress in consolidating democracy, in lending mutual support in international affairs, and in cooperating on economic and cultural exchanges.

"All of you, ministers and representatives alike, have traveled long distances for the sake of further enhancing the cooperation between Central American countries and the ROC. I would like to express my respect for your dedication. Meanwhile, I also wish to extend to you my appreciation for your staunch and valuable friendship in supporting the ROC's participation in the United Nations and other international organizations."

In their remarks, the heads of the Central American delegations all reiterated their stance to support the ROC's participation in the international community, and their desire to further boost various exchanges and cooperation with the ROC.

Accompanied by Foreign Minister Jason Hu, Vice Foreign Minister Francisco Ou and their spouses, the conference participants attended the reception at the Presidential Office. Dr. Ding Mou-shih, Secretary-General of the National Security Council, and Dr. Su Chi, Deputy Secretary-General to the President, were also present at the occasion.

The leading representatives of the delegations are: Ramon Gonzalez Giner, Salvadorian Foreign Minister; Eduardo Stein Barillas, Guatemalan Foreign Minister; Jose Fernando Martinez Jimenez, Honduran Foreign Minister; Walter Niehaus, Costa Rican Vice Foreign Minister; Carlos Roberto Gurdian Debayle, Nicaraguan Vice Foreign Minister; Henry Young, Belizean Minister of Tourism and the Environment; Libbyn Gloria Milan Lugo, Dominican Vice Foreign Minister; and Ernesto Leal Sanchez, Secretary-General of the Organization of Central American States.

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