President Chen Shui-bian conferred today the Order of Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon on the former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State of Asian and Pacific Affairs Randall G. Schriver in recognition of his contribution to promoting U.S.-Taiwan ties.
The ceremony was held at 11:00 am at the Office of the President. Among the distinguished guests who attended the ceremony were Jordan Schriver, Mr. Schriver's spouse, National Security Council Secretary-General Chiou I-jen, Deputy Secretary-General of the Presidential Office Ma Yong-cheng, Deputy Secretary-General of the Presidential Office James Huang, and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Michael Ying-mao Kao.
The ceremony began with the reading of the citation by a protocol official and then the president decorating Schriver with the Order of Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon along with its sash. President Chen shook hands with Schriver again after the decoration and the guests followed by proposing a toast to him before he made a short speech.
In his speech, Schriver said that he feels greatly honored to receive this decoration, which is not only an affirmation of the efforts he made in promoting U.S.-Taiwan ties, but also a symbol of the friendship between the two countries. With a love for his job, he said he had devoted all his time and energy trying to achieve the goals. Making the trip with his wife at the invitation of the Taiwan government, he said he is not only overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality of the people of Taiwan, the occasion also enables him to learn more about Taiwan's progress and prosperity.
The citation reads as follows:
"Former United States State Department's deputy assistant secretary of state, Mr. Randall G. Schriver, is an outstanding diplomat. He has been keen and devoted in promoting friendly cooperative relations between the Republic of China and the United States of America with exceptional successes, winning the respect of the Government of the Republic of China and its people.
In accordance with the stipulation of Article Eighth of the Decoration Law, the Government of the Republic of China, upon the approval given by the president, presents Mr. Schriver with the Order of Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon in recognition of his outstanding contributions.
July 12, 2005, Taipei."
After the decoration, the president and Schriver exchanged views on topics of mutual concern. The president said that he is very happy to meet this long-time friend of Taiwan, Randall G. Schriver, and he feels honored to confer the Order of Brilliant Star with Violet Grand Cordon to Schriver on behalf of the government of the Republic of China and its people for the strong support that he showed in promoting ties between Taiwan and the United States.
The president recalled the private meeting he had with Schriver at the Office of the President before he was appointed deputy assistant secretary of state. At that time, Schriver was still single. Now they have met again, and Schriver came with his wife. The president hopes that when they have the opportunity to meet for the third time, the "three-member Schriver family" would show up.
The president said that before China passed the "Anti-separation Law" in mid March this year, Schriver had already given Taiwan much help. When the "Anti-separation Law" was adopted, Schriver was the first important U.S. official to voice his opposition before the press. For this act, the president expressed his gratitude to him.
The president also mentioned about his success in the re-election on March 20 last year. After the Central Election Committee officially announced his re-election, the U.S. government immediately sent a congratulatory telegram to him. The president believes that this U.S. government action means a lot in the stabilization of the country's situation in the wake of the tumult erupted after the elections. The president was also grateful to President George Bush for sending a congratulation mission and a personal letter to show his support and good wishes.
Commenting on U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's recent trip to China and her call for direct dialogue between the Chinese government and Taiwan's duly elected government, the president said that that is the best way to resolve cross-strait differences. If the Chinese government only wants to have dialogue with civic groups and the opposition parties, such a development would never help in resolving the problems, he added.
Schriver thanked the president for inviting his wife and him to visit Taiwan and giving him the decoration. He remembered that when President Chen was making a stopover in the U.S., he was given the Human Rights Medal. Although he had only played a small role, he was proud and honored in offering assistance to the president's transit in the U.S.
Schriver pointed out that the Bush administration's policy is to urge the Chinese government to have direct talks with Taiwan's legally elected leader. This could be traced back to the time even before the "Anti-separation Law" was passed. The U.S. thinks that China's adoption of the "Anti-separation Law" is a provocative act. In fact, the Chinese leaders also perceived the price they have to pay after the passage of the law, especially over the grave impact on bilateral relations with the U.S., Japan and the European Union. Schriver said that the U.S.' policy of supporting direct talks between China and Taiwan's duly elected government has never changed. But the current situation seems that they only want to meet Taiwanese civic groups and refuse to have any communication with the Taiwanese government.
The president is thankful for the U.S. government policy. He said that the China trip made by opposition leaders Lien Chan and James Soong did not produce any concrete results, judging from the bullies that Beijing applied against Taiwan at the World Health Assembly on May 16. The "China fever," as a matter of fact, would subside soon, he added.
Regarding this development, the president pointed out two phenomenons: First, all the agreements made between the opposition parties and China are meaningless. China has to talk with the Taiwan government to get results. Secondly, the 23 million people of Taiwan have further understood that China is not sincere in improving its relations with Taiwan. What China has been doing is aimed at their united front strategy of dividing Taiwan. The president emphasized that after opposition party chairmen Lien and Soong's visit to China, the reactions from the other side of the strait have made Taiwan see the truth more clearly that it must run its own path with determination and that wishful thinking will lead to nowhere.
The president further pointed out that cross-strait political difference still remains wide apart and there is little possibility that a satisfactory solution could be found sooner. However, he is still willing to continue to try to establish contact and dialogue with the other side with patience, wisdom and innovation, hoping that through each contact and communication a shortening of the distance could be made possible.
Answering Schriver's question about the possibility that the president would meet with the Chinese leader during his second term at the presidency, the president said that it is not a matter that could be decided by just one side. It all depends on President Hu Jintao's reaction. If China is really sincere about resolving this problem and not to insist on the "One China Policy" or the "1992 Consensus" that doesn't exist, then there is a possibility to meet. However, such a scenario looks unlikely judging from the actions taken by China at present. The president said that the presidential elections will be held in 2008 with the candidates to be nominated in 2007. Therefore, the best opportunity for Taiwan and China to meet for dialogue is either this year or next year. If they miss this opportunity, then the meeting might have to be extended after 2008.
At the end, the president used the western anecdote of "The North Wind and the Sun" to describe the cross-strait relations. The president thinks that China's using the "North wind policy" is wrong. If China were smart enough, they should consider the cross-strait relations with the "Sunshine policy." According to past experience, the parties backed by Beijing would eventually lose their support in Taiwan. Therefore, being supported by Beijing will turn out to be a negative factor rather than a positive element.