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President Lee Meets with South African Foreign Minister

President Lee Teng-hui this morning tells H. E. Alfred B. Nzo, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of South Africa, that the ROC treasures her longstanding friendship with South Africa because both countries share the same ideals. The ROC and the RSA both love peace and freedom, strive to promote democratic reforms and national development, and adopt a foreign policy with moral and human rights concerns, the President elaborates.


Accompanied by ROC Foreign Minister John Chang and RSA Ambassdor Hohannes L. Viljoen, Minister Nzo and his seven-member delegation come to the Office of the President for exchanging views with President Lee on issues of mutual concerns such as bilateral cooperation projects and Taiwan-Chinese mainland relations. Secretary- General Ding Mou-shih of the ROC National Security Council is also present at the meeting.


President Lee says that he felt deeply moved by President Nelson Mandela's sacrifice for South Africa while he attended President Mandela's inauguration ceremony two years ago.


In terms of bilateral relations between the ROC and South Africa, President Lee says he wishes to see even closer ties developed. I always keep a set of bilateral cooperation projects on my desk and check them from time to time, explains President Lee. If any project falls behind schedule, I immediately call the relevant government departments and ask them to pay attention to it. There are a total of 31 cooperation projects between the ROC and South Africa and some 270 ROC enterprises have invested over US$1.5 billion there, the President points out.


Minister Nzo tells President Lee that South Africa attaches great importance to her relations with the ROC, and he feels the RSA-ROC relations are working very smoothly at the present time. Under the instruction of President Mandela, his delegation is on a fact-finding visit to Taipei to have a evaluation of South Africa's relations with Taipei and Beijing, according to Minister Nzo.


Minister Nzo also notes that, after meeting with high-ranking ROC government officials, his delegation has gained a better understanding about the ROC's mainland policy, which pursues national unification rather than Taiwan independence.


Regarding cross-Straits relations, President Lee reiterates that the ROC will by no means accept Beijing's "one country, two systems" proposal. Judging from Hong Kongs present situation, the President feels that it is doubtful whether Beijing can really implement "one country, two systems". There is still huge discrepancy between what Beijing says and what it does, the President adds.


Accordingly, President Lee emphasizes that both sides of the Taiwan Straits have to tackle their problems in a peace way through dialogue and negotiations instead of military means. In terms of dialogue and negotiations, "our door is always open," says the President.


During the meeting, President Lee also reaffirms that national unification remains the ultimate goal of the ROC and that China must be unified under democracy, freedom, and equitable distribution of wealth for all Chinese.


Minister Nzo tells President Lee that South Africa hopes to see both sides of the Taiwan Straits resolve their disputes peacefully. He also says that his delegation is deeply impressed by the ROC's various achievements and will report their findings in detail to President Mandela after returning to Pretoria.

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