President Lee asserted today: "In my capacity as the President of the Republic of China, I want to stress, on behalf of my government and people, that the Republic of China has been a sovereign state since 1912, and there is no question about it." President Lee made the remarks when meeting with Chairman Richard Bush of the American Institute in Taiwan.
"Our position will not be affected by the recent meeting between President Clinton and mainland China's Jiang Zeming," President Lee told Mr. Bush. "The communication channels between the U.S. and the ROC are open. For whatever matters concerning Taiwan, the U.S. should discuss them directly with us, and not in its bilateral talks with Peking."
Accompanied by Ding Mou-shih, Secretary-General of the National Security Council, Foreign Minister Jason Hu, and Su Chi, Deputy Secretary-General to the President, President Lee met with Mr. Bush and listened to his briefing on President Clinton's visit to mainland China. Darryl Johnson, Director of AIT's Taipei office, was also present.
During the briefing, Mr. Bush reiterated on behalf of the U.S. government that "there is no change" in U.S. policy and stance regarding its six promises and arms sales to Taiwan, peaceful settlement of cross-strait differences, and encouragement of cross-strait dialogues.
President Lee stated that he fully understands that President Clinton has no intention to change the U.S. policy toward the ROC. It is gratifying to know that President Clinton has made no concessions on issues of the so-called "fourth communique" and arms sales, despite the pressure from Peking, he said.
Regarding President Clinton's mention in mainland China of the so-called "three no's," President Lee said that although this does not represent any shift in the U.S. policy, nor is it intended to harm the ROC, it has to a large extent created misunderstandings in the ROC public and has had an impact on this country.
"My determination to promote the resumption of cross-strait dialogue and communications remains steadfast and unchanged," President Lee told the U.S. envoy. However, he said, he hopes that Mr. Bush will understand that the ROC's parliament, mass media and citizens have voiced many different views on the Clinton-Jiang summit, which must not be ignored.
President Lee stressed: "While valuing different opinions, I will do my utmost to enlist public support in order to build consensus and maintain our set policy of promoting cross-strait dialogue and communications. Nevertheless, we must realize that in this democratic society, if the majority of our citizens consider the U.S. position as biased, it will inevitably influence the promotion of exchanges between the two sides of the strait in the future."
Mr. Bush said that he fully understands President Lee's ideas and the ROC's position, and that he will transmit the messages to the Clinton administration after he returns to Washington.
The AIT chairman said that in President Clinton's speeches in mainland China, he repeatedly elaborated on the concepts of freedom and democracy. "I firmly believe that President Clinton's expectation of a future China is an entirely free and democratic one," he said. Through its dedication to the development of democracy and freedom during the past decade, one can say that Taiwan is an excellent model of a free and democratic system, he added.