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Jul 08, 2011, No. 051

  • Date:2011-07-08

Minister Lai: Taiwan's pursuit of the core values of democracy, freedom, and peace can be a piloting power in the development of cross-strait relations
During an international academic seminar held by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, D.C. today (July 7, 2011, US Eastern Standard Time), Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Minister Lai Shin-yuan presents a speech on "The Republic of China's Mainland Policy: Piloting Cross-Strait Relations to Create a Peaceful Environment for Benign Interactions between the Two Sides of the Taiwan Strait." In her speech, Minister Lai emphasizes that a century of nation-building history of the Republic of China (ROC) has coalesced into the common values of "freedom" and "peace" that Taiwan treasures today. The institution safeguarding these values is the ROC’s democratic constitution, which is also Taiwan's unwavering and important core in developing cross-strait relations. In her speech, Minister Lai quotes the anti-war song "Give Peace a Chance" by the Beatles' John Lennon and makes a metaphor, noting that the Mainland policy promoted under President Ma's leadership over the last three or so years has turned the threat of war into an opportunity for peace and prosperity. The efforts made by the two sides of the Strait to "give peace a chance" have been applauded around the world and matched the common hopes of the international community, worth singing loudly. She also emphasizes that Taiwan's strength lies in the democratic constitutional system as well as freedom, peace, and other core values it defenses. In the course of cross-strait interactions, Taiwan has a responsibility to share with mainland China its experience gained from the last six decades of economic development and democratization process. Through contact, dialogue, cooperation, and mutual understanding, Taiwan's core values can truly be understood and even adopted by the people on the other side as their own values and beliefs, further promoting lasting peace across the Taiwan Strait. Minister Lai describes this as Taiwan's "piloting" power. Minister Lai attends the international seminar on "Facing the Challenges of Cross-Strait Relations in 2012" at the invitation of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. She fully explains the major significances and achievements realized by the ROC's Mainland policy. She also emphasizes that the ROC is a sovereign and independent country, and mainland China needs to face up to and respect this fact in order to better develop cross-strait relations. Furthermore, Minister Lai calls on the United States to treat Taiwan pragmatically. At this key juncture in the development of cross-strait relations, the US should attach greater importance to Taiwan's power in exerting major influences on regional peace and benign cross-strait interactions. Minister Lai indicates that the deepening and consolidation of the US-Taiwan alliance, along with more concrete US support for Taiwan, will undoubtedly provide a favorable foundation for America's benign Asia policy. After Minister Lai's speech, the participants asks numerous related questions on issues such as US arms sales to Taiwan, the South China Sea issue, recent debates among scholars on "one China" and other issues, and negotiations on cross-strait political and military issues. Minister Lai informs the participants that the ROC will firmly uphold its national sovereignty and that Taiwan is absolutely resolved to defend itself. Continued support from the US, including the sale of needed defensive weapons, is a key factor and the solid backing for Taiwan to continue promoting cross-strait rapprochement. Minister Lai expresses hope that the US can strengthen cooperation with Taiwan and pragmatically consider Taiwan's defense needs. She also indicates that there has been no change in President Ma's basic principle of firmly adhering, under the framework of the ROC Constitution, to the cross-strait status quo of "no unification, no independence, and no use of force." At present, the development of cross-strait relations and the respective internal conditions on the two sides are not yet mature to the point that political and military issues can be discussed. Minister Lai's keynote speech concludes amidst enthusiastic discussion. The seminar is attended by over 100 people from political and academic circles in the US and Taiwan, as well as Mainland scholars. During her itinerary to Washington, D.C. and New York, Minister Lai plans to call on officials, major think tanks, scholars, and overseas Taiwanese groups to explain the major results achieved by the Taiwan government’s promoting the development of cross-strait relations.