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President Lee Meets with U.S. Senators

President Lee Teng-hui this morning tells visiting U.S. senators: As the President of the Republic of China, I am committed to institutionalizing the democratic system and realizing national unification based on the principles of freedom, democracy, and equitable distribution of wealth. We can never seek unification by putting our country under communism.


The President emphasizes that, being a democratic country, the R.O.C. has been existing for over eight decades, and has created a world-acclaimed economic miracle in Taiwan. This is an undeniable fact.


The delegation, which includes Sen. & Mrs. Sam Nunn(D-Ga), Sen. William Cohen(R-Me), Sen. & Mrs. Slade Gorton(R-Wa) and Sen. Fred Thompson(R-Tn), calls on President Lee for exchanging views on matters of mutual concern. Dr. Ding Mou-shih, Secretary-General of the National Security Council and other high-ranking officials are also present at the meeting.


During the meeting, President Lee tells his American guests that he hopes that the long stalled dialogue between Taiwans Straits Exchange Foundation and the mainlands Association for Relations across the Taiwan Straits can be soon resumed and that even leaders of both sides can meet each other. He also repeats his call made in his inaugural address last May that he is willing to embark upon a journey of peace to Beijing. Otherwise, the annual informal leadership meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum, being apolitical and purely economic in nature, could serve as a suitable occassion for leaders from both sides of the Taiwan Straits to meet, according to the President. It is quite regretable that Bejing has persistently opposed his attendance to the APEC leadership meeting, adds he.


I will sincerely ask Mr. Jiang Ze-min to learn more about the history of Taiwan, its peoples deep aspirations for democracy and freedom, and their current ways of life if l meet him, President Lee says. Being an agricultural economist, I am more than willing to offer Taiwan's experience to help boost agricultural development in the Chinese mainland, he also notes.


Meanwhile President Lee reiterates that the ROC, while doing her best in economic development, has been actively implementing political reforms and playing an active role in international affairs, showing that the ROC is a worthy member of the international society.


Regarding the ROCs effort to participate in the United Nations, President Lee makes it clear that we are not seeking Taiwans independence. As a matter of fact, the ROC is already a sovereign state with enormous economic power and a democratic system; its name is the Republic of China, and I am its President.


Citing the case which the U.S. sent two aircraft carrier battle groups to waters off Taiwan last March to demonstrate its resolution to maintain the Asia-Pacific regional peace and uphold freedom, democracy and justice, the President tells the senators that that beause of the U.S.s adherence to her traditional values--freedom, democracy and justice--help resolve many international conflicts and thus win worldwide respect.


President Lee points out that the ROC has been making continuous endeavors to realize the ideal of popular sovereignty, which is consistent with traditional American values.


On Hong Kongs future after 1997, the President says that though he believes the process of Hong Kongs handover to Beijing could be smooth and peaceful, yet we are more concerned about Hong Kongs future development. To meet the challenges ahead, we are fully prepared.


Describing himself as both idealistic and pragmatic, President Lee reiterates that I hopes to work with my countrymen during my four-year tenure not only to establish a fully-fledged democracy and engage in administrative, judicial and educational reforms, but also to promote spiritual reforms in order to build a modern, civilized country for the generations to come.

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