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President Chen's New Year Message ( excerpt : cross-strait relations )

  • Date:2002-01-01

January 1, 2002 In the past year, we have experienced more adversities and tribulations than advantages and comforts both at home and abroad. Nature's challenges and human conflicts lead us to ponder our situation. I believe that the traditional wisdom of "deferring to the mandate of Heaven and the wishes of the people" can be construed to mean replacing "exclusive antagonism" with "constructive cooperation." This belief applies not only to the tionship between human beings as well as between man and nature, but also to international, cross-strait, and interparty relations. The September 11 terrorist attacks and the ensuing nternational campaign against terrorism solemnly remind us of the value of peace and the meaning of cooperation. At the beginning of this new century, man is still not free of cultural or military conflict. However, mutual respect and tolerance among nations and peoples is the only way to prevent confrontation, and international cooperation without narrow self-interest will strengthen the bastion of peace. During the Cold War era, Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen, and Matsu were an "anti-communist bastion." However, the era of bipolar antagonism has long passed. Through constructive cooperation, the Republic of China is willing to play a more active role in the international community in this new century. Today, Taiwan's accession to the World Trade rganization as its 144th member marks a highly significant milestone. We will not only fulfill our obligations as a member of the global community, but also view future cross-strait relations from a perspective of cooperation. In my last New Year's Eve address, "Bridging the New Century," I especially mentioned that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should pursue the same goal of peaceful coexistence and mutual prosperity, and neither side should harm or destroy the other. If the Chinese mainland can renounce military intimidation and respect the people's free will, the two sides can begin with integration in the cultural, economic, and trade fields, before further seeking a new framework for permanent peace and political integration. We are pleased that the two sides have acceded to the WTO in succession, and are prepared to make more active efforts to promote a "constructive cooperative relationship" in cross-strait economics and trade for the greatest benefit and welfare of all people.