The 1998 Mainland Affairs Meeting of the Republic of China Executive Yuan (Cabinet) opened today, and President Lee Teng-hui sent a message to the meeting to express his sincere respect and commendation. Full text of President Lee's message follows:
Premier Siew, Chairman Chang, Ladies and Gentlemen:
The 1998 Mainland Affairs Meeting of the Executive Yuan opens today. At a time when cross-strait relations have witnessed changes in both domestic and external environments, this convention carries enormous significance. With "Open Up a New Era for Cross-Strait Relations: Promote Favorable Interactions" as its theme, the meeting will conduct an across-the-board review and discussions on the development of subjective and objective situations, the macro cross-strait relations and the fundamental principle of cross-strait exchanges. It will also determine the concrete direction and strategy for our future mainland policy. I would like to extend my sincere respect and commendation to all of you.
While cross-strait relations have evolved from non-existence to existence, and from separation to exchange, our attitude has always been active and steady. Despite the numerous setbacks, we have remained unchanged in our goals to pursue national freedom, democracy, equitable wealth distribution and reunification, and to pursue the long-term well-being and development of the Chinese people. Over the years, we have won worldwide recognition and affirmation for our sincere endeavors to maintain the Strait's peace and stability as well as the security and prosperity of the East Asian region. In the future, we must actively establish modern political, economic and social systems so as to build up our strength. Furthermore, we should continue our efforts to cultivate mutual trust and promote favorable interactions between the two sides of the Strait, in order to convert cross-strait relations into a driving force behind our overall national development.
Not only will the development of cross-strait relations have immediate influence on the 21.8 million people in the Taiwan area, but it will also decide the well-being and future of the whole Chinese people. Therefore, we must base our handling of mainland affairs upon the spirits of rationality, peace, equality and reciprocity, as stipulated in the Guidelines for National Unification, and upon the principles of respecting the rights of the Taiwan people and safeguarding their safety and well-being. Meanwhile, through strengthening exchanges and consultations, we hope to gradually dissolve our differences with the mainland and establish a truly constructive relationship between the two sides.
Looking ahead to the 21st century, how to steer cross-strait relations toward peace, reason, cooperation and reciprocity hinges on the consensus building in our society and our concerted efforts, and especially on our government's deliberate planning, coordination and promotion. As cross-strait dialogue has resumed, this year's Mainland Affairs Meeting bears immense significance. I firmly believe that through profound discussions to pool your wisdom and expertise, you will be able to present fresh ideas and direction for the favorable development of cross-strait relations and advances in our mainland policy.
In closing, I wish this convention great success and each of you good health and happiness.