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President Chen Receives ROC Envoys and Representatives to 18 Asia-Pacific countries

Taipei, Jan. 10 (CNA) Republic of China President Chen Shui-bian said Wednesday that normalization of cross-Taiwan Strait relations will help stabilize and improve the ROC government's foreign relations.

Chen made the remarks while receiving ROC envoys and representatives to 18 Asia-Pacific countries, most of which maintain no formal relations with Taiwan.

He said that the government's diplomatic work cannot be separate from the development of its relations with mainland China and added that this is why he attaches great importance to the improvement of cross-strait relations.

Chen noted that the government's mainland policy is contained in two important documents--one issued on May 20 last year, his inauguration day, and the other delivered as his New Year's Day message on Dec. 31.

He noted that two documents were carefully worded and can be used for foreign governments to understand the ROC government's policy toward the mainland.

The president urged the envoys and representatives stationed abroad to double their efforts to strive for the country's best interest at a time when mainland China has stepped up its oppression of the ROC in the diplomatic arena.

He said: "Hope will emerge, so long as the ROC exists for one day; impossible things can turn into possible things, so long as we refuse to give up."

Chen said that all countries in the Asia-Pacific region are important to the ROC and added that the government attaches great importance to the role being played by its all envoys and representatives to those countries.

The president asked them to pay more attention to upcoming important events this year which might affect the ROC's diplomatic relations.

These events include the 2001 informal leadership conference of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to be held in Shanghai in October; Taiwan's and the mainland's entry into the World Trade Organization; and mainland China's application to host the 2008 Olympic Games.

He also said that since he assumed the presidency, he has done his utmost to stabilize cross-strait relations and lift the morale of the armed forces.

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