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President Lee Addresses OSEAL Forum

President Lee Teng-hui this afternoon addresses the opening ceremony of the 35th Orient and Southeast Asian Lions (OSEAL) Forum held at Taoyuan Stadium in northern Taiwan.


The full text of his speech is as follows:


International President Soliva, Organizing Committee Chairman Tsai, Chief Delegates, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen:


I am delighted at this opportunity to meet with you on the occasion of the 35th OSEAL Forum held in Taipei. I would first like, on behalf of the government and people of the Republic of China, to warmly welcome each distinguished guest who has come from afar to be with us here today.


The Lions Clubs International is a world-renowned civic organization of long standing that brings together the elite of society. For many years, the Lions have remained true and steadfast to the ideals of freedom, wisdom, and service to humankind. They have made every effort to pool the strength of the private sector, hold activities in the public interest, raise the quality of life, and promote international friendship. The Lions have set an outstanding example of private organizational participation and social service. They have also greatly contributed to the prosperous development of societies throughout the world.


In line with the emergence of a new world order in recent years, the international political, strategic and economic order is about to undergo structural transformation. The Asia-Pacific region, which is experiencing extremely rapid economic growth, is becoming more and more important on the world stage and is increasingly influential in international affairs. Although some factors inimical to regional integration remain--such as historical conflicts, cultural disparities, political differences, and territorial disputes among Asia-Pacific nations--closer political, economic and cultural cooperation is sure to result when the era of regional trading blocks arrives.


The Republic of China has been a constructive member of the Asia-Pacific region and has always advocated maintaining good and close cooperative relations with other Asian nations. In recent years we have vigorously stepped up our investment in and technological cooperation with Southeast Asian nations, with immensely striking results. During the first half of this year, aggregate trade volume between the ROC and the seven ASEAN nations amounted to US$13 billion while our investment in these nations was nearly US$4 billion. This has greatly contributed to the economic growth and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region. Furthermore, the ROC also provided 290,000 job opportunities to such nations as the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. This has greatly helped maintain stability in these countries and has won acclaim from the international community. Although the ROC's diplomatic relations have suffered at the hands of the Chinese communists, we by no means intend to confine ourselves; we will vigorously participate in international affairs in accord with our ideals and objectives of national survival and development, and strengthen our economic relations with other Asian nations to jointly create a new Asia-Pacific era of peace, cooperation and prosperity.


As the 20th century is about to conclude, development in each country and mankind's future are faced with some predicaments. In light of the swiftly changing international environment, how to seek breakthroughs and sustain continuous development has become an important issue that deserves the serious attention of each individual, each society, and even each nation. It is therefore of particular and far-reaching significance that this conference has chosen "Sustainable Development" as its main theme.


During the developmental process over the past 50 years, the Republic of China has faced many setbacks and challenges; yet we have maintained our ideals and have finally written a new chapter of freedom, democracy and prosperity on this very strip of land. These achievements are worth cherishing and will be the basis for our transition into the new century and our creation of new opportunities. We are willing to provide our experience, contribute our efforts, and work together with the rest of humanity to take civilization to new heights.


Today's conference is a new starting point for all Lions Club members to share their experience and wisdom, display their vibrant spirit, and embrace new objectives. I believe that you already have an excellent foundation for demonstrating the Lions Club's noble spirit and sense of mission and for jointly contributing your greatest efforts to enhancing the welfare of mankind.


In closing, I wish the conference success and each of you good health and happiness. Thank you.

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