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President Lee Hosts Former US President Jimmy Carter

President Lee Teng-hui said that after his retirement from the presidency, he will devote himself to promoting the development of world peace and the livelihood and well-being of humanity. He made the remarks today when hosting former US President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter.

President Lee told the visiting couple that he will be completing his tenure as President at this time next year, and that in recent years, he has been thinking of his life after retirement. Should he compensate his family by spending more time with them, devote himself to religion and preach, commit himself to social charity and public welfare work, or assist the ROC's allies in economic development?

The President stated firmly that no matter what happens in the future, he will join Mr. Carter to promote the development of world peace and the livelihood and well-being of humanity.

At noon, President and Mrs. Lee met with Mr. and Mrs. Carter, first-time visitors to the Republic of China, and their family and friends at the Taipei Guest House. They welcomed the visiting guests with a luncheon in their honor.

President Lee said that after completing his presidency, Mr. Carter has remained dedicated to promoting the ideals of democracy, human rights and peace. The former US President not only has actively participated in public welfare activities and promoted human rights and humanitarianism, but also has acted as a peace envoy many times to dissolve regional crises. For his remarkable contributions and impressive accomplishments, he has received worldwide acclamations, President Lee said.

In 1982, Mr. Carter established the Carter Center to assist numerous people around the world needing assistance to overcome hardships such as poverty, disease and starvation. Just before visiting Taipei, he led 300 voluntary carpenters under "Habitat for Humanity" to build houses for the poor in the Philippines. Also a devout Christian, President Lee said that he has always paid close attention to and admired the visiting guest's selfless devotion and religious compassion.

President Lee asserted that Mr. Carter deserves the respect he has received not only for his performance during his presidency, but even more for his compassion and contributions to humanity.

The President pointed out that Mr. Carter conquered Mt. Kilimanjaro at 64 and climbed Mt. Fuji at 70, two great achievements that testify to his extraordinary perseverance and courage in the pursuit of breakthrough and progress. These virtues of his can serve as a model for other people to follow, President Lee added.

He said that while engaged in humanitarianism activities, Mr. Carter has constantly broadened his life experiences. The former US President not only is a successful senior, but also represents a benevolent person who, according to an old Chinese saying, is fond of mountains.

He told Mr. Carter, "Your philosophy of life has earned you the reputation 'best ex-President ' of the United States".

In closing, the President quoted a famous Confucius saying to express his welcome to Mr. and Mrs. Carter: "What a happy occasion to have friends visiting from afar." He invited the visiting couple to join him in a toast to the long-standing friendship between the two countries.

In his speech, Mr. Carter said that he did not expect that one day he would visit Taiwan when he submitted the Taiwan Relations Act to the US Congress 20 years ago. It is beyond the predictions of many that Taiwan has made notable progress in democracy, human rights, economy, culture, science and technology, he added. "Taiwan has made itself a model for many other countries by its development, in which the outstanding leadership of President Lee has played a significant role."

Mr. Carter indicated that when he completed his presidency and left the White House, he had no idea what to do and was in debt for USD 1 million from the election campaign. However, he then dedicated himself to promoting public welfare and human rights, and his efforts proved that the retired elderly still can contribute to the world in many ways, he said. Mr. Carter expressed his admiration for President Lee's attitude toward retirement planning, and said that he looks forward to having President Lee joining him.

Other guests at the luncheon included: Premier and Mrs. Vincent Siew; President and Mrs. Fredrick Chien of the Control Yuan; Mr. and Mrs. Ding Mou-shih, Senior Advisor to the President; Mr. and Mrs. Huang Kun-huei, Secretary-General to the President; Foreign Minister and Mrs. Jason Hu; Mr. and Mrs. Daryl Johnson, Taipei Office Director-General of the American Institute in Taiwan; Mr. and Mrs. Tien Hung-mao, president of the Institute for National Policy Research; and Professor Chen Hsi-huang, Department of Agricultural Economics, National Taiwan University.

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