President Lee Teng-hui reaffirms today his commitment to promoting national unification, and stresses once again that the Republic of China is pursuing a democratic, free and equitably prosperous China, rather than a totalitarian communist-ruled China. President Lee makes the remarks while meeting with visiting former U.S. Vice President Dan Quayle this morning.
"When we say 'one China' , we refer to the Republic of China. We'll seek a unified China under the system of democracy, freedom and equal prosperity," President Lee notes, adding that the government and people of the ROC will never accept Beijing's claim that the Republic of China on Taiwan is a province of the People's Republic of China.
President Lee further points out that the ROC has become a full-fledged democracy following its direct presidential election in March. "Our political ideals are consistent with such traditional American values as freedom, justice and fairness.
In addition to promoting constitutional reforms, President Lee says, the ROC has been engaged in sweeping reforms in the judicial, educational, administrative and cultural fields with a view to becoming a real modernized nation.
In order to reach this goal, according to the President, the present top priority is to develop Taiwan into an Asia-Pacific regional operations center. Besides, "We'll hold a National Development Conference later this month to pool wisdom and foster a consensus on our future development course,"he says.
President Lee also expresses his concern over Hong Kong's development after its reversion to the Communist rule in mid-1997. "We are concerned whether Hong Kong's current free,democratic system can be maintained after the handover," he notes, adding that, if the ways of thinking of the Beijing leadership cannot keep abreast with the prevailing world trend toward democracy, Hong Kong's future will be doomed.
Mr. Quayle, who is on his second visit to Taipei since stepping down from the vice presidency in early 1993, tells President Lee that he is impressed by Taiwan's progress in the political and economic fields over the past few years.
Mr. Quayle also shows concern about Hong Kong's future as well as relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits, and he exchanges views with President Lee on these issues during the meeting.
Accompanied by ROC Vice Foreign Minister C. J. Chen, Mr. Quayle and Dr. Karl Jackson, the former Assistant to the Vice President of the United States, come to the Office of the President for a courtesy call to President Lee.
Also present at the meeting are 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.