ROC Vice President Lien Chan today pointed out that the ROC government is committed to national reunification under democracy, freedom, and equitable prosperity. "We are confident that this is the common aspiration of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The ROC government does not seek to unify only territory and people; instead, it is our firm belief that the two sides must be reunified under a sound and rational political, economic and social system that guarantees a good way of life. Only reunification achieved under such conditions will protect and expand the welfare of the Chinese people on both sides", he added.
The Vice President made the above remarks this afternoon during an interview with the Voice of America (VOA) conducted at the Office of the President in Taipei.
The interview was made by Ms. Stephanie Ho, VOA's Peking correspondent, and Mr. Alexander Tien, correspondent of its Chinese branch, in English and mandarin, respectively. Dr. Su Chi, deputy secretary-general of the Office of the President, and Frederic P. N. Chang, deputy director-general of the Government Information Office, were also present during the interview.
The interview was broadcast tonight to the VOA's audience worldwide, including those in the Chinese mainland.
The Q&A of the interview is as follows:
Q1. Taiwan and the United States have enjoyed friendly relations, despite not having formal diplomatic ties. In the past year and a half, the United States and the Chinese mainland have improved their relationship. Does President Clinton's visit to the Chinese mainland cause any concern for Taiwan?
A: The ROC has absolutely no intention whatsoever of interfering with the development of Washington-Peking relations. However, we must emphasize that any development of relations between Washington and Peking must not be made at the expense of the ROC's interests. Actually, I whole-heartedly agree with President Clinton when he said last October that all three sets of bilateral relations between Washington, Taipei and Peking can prosper.
The peoples of the ROC and the US share the same values. Solid, mutually beneficial economic ties between the US and the ROC have also developed over the years. we believe that we can continue to build on existing Taipei-Washington relations by strengthening bilateral ties and working toward our common interests.
Q2. What issues does Taiwan especially worry about with regard to the Chinese mainland?
A: Peking has vigorously promoted economic reforms in the past decade. However, corresponding social and political reforms have not been implemented alongside them, resulting in a wider divide between economic and political development. Consequently, spreading corruption, a breakdown in social order, a widening gap between rich and poor, and rising unemployment have all become causes for much concern. We have no desire to see the Chinese mainland in disarray. Even less, however, we do not wish to see Peking to divert its people's attention by deliberately creating tensions in the Taiwan Strait. Such actions would affect the stability of the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Q3. What is the current state of cross-strait relations? We know that there was a suspension of high-level meetings between the heads of the SEF and the ARATS several years ago, but that both sides recently met in Peking and agreed to once again continue with talks.
A: At present, cross-strait relations are heading step-by-step toward the resumption of bilateral talks. We hope to bring about the long-awaited meeting between Messrs. Koo Chen-fu and Wang Daohan before the end of this year so as to create a harmonious atmosphere between the two sides of the strait. We earnestly hope that the mechanism of bilateral talks can be resumed as early as possible.
Q4. Was Taiwan pressured by the US government to resume talks with the Chinese mainland?
A: Both the ROC and the US hope to see the cross-strait issue peacefully resolved and the two sides of the strait resume their dialogue as soon as possible. Since July 1995, when Peking unilaterally suspended all talks, high-ranking ROC officials have called for the resumption of cross-strait dialogue on over 100 occasions.
I would like to reiterate that Peking has yet to renounce the use of military force against Taiwan. And it is also the primary variable affecting peace and stability in the entire Asia-Pacific region.
Q5. Peking says the transfer of Hong Kong in 1997 is the model for reunification with Macau and eventually Taiwan. Is Taiwan convinced that the mainland authorities are doing a good job in managing Hong Kong's problems? Is reunification even a consideration for Taiwan at this point?
A: In the year since the transfer, there have been no major unexpected developments in Hong Kong. However, the slowdown in Hong Kong's economy and private concerns over political and social issues certainly deserve attention. The record-high turnout in the first popular election of members to Hong Kong's Legislative Council clearly demonstrates the Hong Kong public's enthusiastic aspirations for democracy.
I think long-term observation is required to determine whether the "one country, two systems" model will work after all in Hong Kong. But whether it works in Hong Kong or not, Taiwan will say "no" to the formula. The Republic of China is not Hong Kong. It is a Republic. It has a Constitution, an armed forces and diplomatic relationships. We labored so hard in Taiwan for 50 years not for the sake of becoming a part of a communist country. That is for sure.
Q6. Do you think Taiwan will ever reunify with the mainland? If not, why not? If so, under what terms would this be acceptable, and what sort of arrangement do you envision?
A: This is also a important question. The ROC government is committed to the pursuit of reunification under democracy, freedom, and equitable prosperity. We are confident that this is the common aspiration of the people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait. The ROC government does not seek to unify only territory and people; instead, it is our firm belief that the two sides must be reunified under a sound and rational political, economic and social system that guarantees a good way of life. Only reunification achieved under such conditions will protect and expand the welfare of the Chinese people on both sides.
Q7. U.S. President Clinton has remarked on the "three no's" policy in Shanghai. What is Taiwan's response? What impact will the remarks have on the ROC as a sovereign political entity?
A: We are more than willing to discuss with Washington on whatever ideas it may have. There are established communication channels between Taipei and Washington. In my opinion, it is acceptable for the U.S. and mainland China to discuss cross-strait relations in the mainland. However, if they converse about the ROC's foreign relations, then the location seems inappropriate.
It is the common wish of the ROC's 21.5-million people to participate in international organizations and to contribute to the world community. As a sovereign and free democracy, we have the right to participate in the world community--to have our voice heard and to avail ourselves of the opportunity to contribute to the global community. We disagree with any commentary that is not conducive to the achievement of our goals.
Q8. AIT Chairman Richard Bush has said during his recent visit to Taiwan that the Clinton-Jiang talks will not harm Taiwan's interest, but your government considers otherwise that the "three no's" will have impact on Taiwan. Why is it that the U.S. and Taiwan have such different views?
A: Both the international and local media have reported and commented extensively on President Clinton's recent visit to mainland China. Basically, the visit will lead to no substantial change in ROC-U.S. relations. In the past, the so-called "three no's" was previously mentioned only by American officials of lower ranking three or four times. However, it was brought up this time by President Clinton himself. We therefore have a more serious objection to convey that we disagree with part of his remarks.
Q9. In his interview with former Hong Kong Governor Chris Patten yesterday, President Lee Teng-hui said that the ROC will by no means accept Peking's "one country, two systems," and that the so-called "one country, two systems" is per se ambiguous, contradictory and undemocratic. What is your view on this?
A: I completely agree with President Lee's comment, which reinforces our objection to "one country, two systems."
Q10. Will President Clinton's remarks on the "three no's" cripple the Straits Exchange Foundation's role in cross-strait consultations? Will they have any substantial influence on the Koo-Wang talks scheduled for this coming fall?
A: We shall have to wait and see.
Q11: Will U.S. President Clinton's remarks on the "three No's" made in Shanghai affect Taiwan's pragmatic diplomacy? U.S. Secretary of State Albright said that Taiwan overreacted to President Clinton's remarks and that there is no change regarding American policy toward Taiwan. But Taiwan is obviously a little bit hurt by President Clinton's remarks. What concrete actions can the U.S. take to make up for Taiwan, e.g., supporting Taiwan in joining the WTO?
A: First of all, I would like to point out that participation in the international organizations is the general aspiration of our people here. Their aspiration to participate in the United Nations or other international organizations is strongly felt. We believe we are entitled to participating in international organizations as any other sovereign state.
Secondly, we do not endorse a policy of "Taiwan independence", "one China, one, Taiwan" or "two China's." Our policy is the eventual unification of the Chinese nation. This has not been changed. We believe that China must be unified only under freedom, democracy, and prosperity. But it takes both sides to work it out. We do not agree to the definition of "one China" insisted by Peking because that is not based on reality and is totally unacceptable to our people.
Thirdly, we wish to join all the international organizations, and WTO is important to us at this stage. We certainly need the support of the U.S.