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President Lee Meets with U.S. Senators

President Lee Teng-hui this morning reiterates that, at the call of his country and with the support of its people, he is willing to embark on a journey of peace to the Chinese mainland for the sake of eventual national unification and the well-being of the entire Chinese people, and that mainland Chinese leaders are welcome to visit Taipei if they wish to do so.


The President makes the remarks while meeting with a visiting U.S. Senate delegation led by Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.), the Senate minority leader.


However, it is regretful that the mainland authorities have so far not responded to his friendly overture,President Lee says.


Meanwhile, President Lee reaffirms the ROC government's commitment to promoting the unification of China, saying that this goal remains unchanged. "That is why we set up the National Unification Council and unveiled the National Unification Guidelines, " he adds.


The President also tells the American senators that he has been very actively promoting cross-Straits exchanges since he assumed the presidency in January 1988 and that he announced the termination of the Temporary Provisions Effective Duirng the Period of National Mobilization against Communist Rebellion with the view to ending military confrontation and peacefully resolving disputes between Taiwan and the mainland.


After years of efforts, the two sides had finally managed to set up a channel for semi-official consultations through Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation and the mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Straits. Nevertheless, Beijing has closed the door on such consultations after he visited the United States in June 1995, President Lee tells his guests.


The President points out that China is now ruled by two separate governments and "this is an undeniable fact." "The 'one China' we refer to is the Republic of China and we can not accept Beijing's claim that Taiwan is a provice of the People's Republic of China," he notes.


The visiting guests include Sen. and Mrs. Thomas Daschle, Sen. and Mrs. John Glenn (D-OH), Sen. and Mrs. Patrick J. Leahy (D-VT), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Sen. and Mrs. Byron L. Dorgan (D-ND). Accompanied by ROC Vice Foreign Minister Chen Chien-jen and Director Darryl N. Johnson of the American Institute in Taiwan's Taipei Office, they come to the Office of the President to call on President Lee. Dr. Ding Mou-shih, Secretary-General of the ROC National Security Council, and Mr. Stephen S.F. Chen, Deputy Secretary-General of the Office of the President, are also present.


During the meeting, President Lee says that it is unfortunate that the Chinese Communists conducted missile tests and military exercises in waters off Taiwan prior to the ROC's first direct presidential election this March, intending to intimidating the people here. He also expresses his gratitude for U.S. President Bill Clinton's decision to dispatch two aircraft carrier battle groups to the Taiwan Straits in response to Beijing's war games. "This move attests to U.S. determination to maintain peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region and to defend democracy and justice."


The U.S. senators congratulate President Lee on his victory on the March 23 presidential election and express their admiration for the ROC's success in political democracy under the leadership of President Lee. In addition, they have an interactive discussion with President Lee on matters of mutual concern.

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