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January 19, 1997
In a seminar "Retrospect and Prospects for Ten Years of Cross-strait Cultural Exchanges," MAC Chairman Chang King-yuh urges the governments and peoples of the two sides to work for greater exchanges of information, culture, and value systems -- "the three cultural links" - in order to end the grudges harbored by the two sides.

March 9, 1997
The Fifteenth NPC adopts the "National Defense Law," which lays down in statutory form the basic principles of and operations for national defense. This shows that the PRC desires to dispel international worries about the "China threat." PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian says that this law can guard against the Taiwan independence movement and other secessionist movements calling for splitting the nation.

March 12, 1997
ROC Premier Lien Chan says the government does not reject direct cross-strait talks, saying the issue is how the two sides meet for talks and whether the two are in an equal position.

March 18, 1997
The ROC Legislative Yuan adopts the "Statutes Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau."

April 26, 1997
The ROC Presidential Office formally establishes the National Development Consultative Conference, under which there are three committees on constitutional systems, cross-strait relations and economic development. Presidential Secretary-general Huang Kun-huei is appointed the executive director.

May 22, 1997
Minister of Foreign Affairs John Chang, while delivering a speech in the international council in Brussels, indicates that Taiwan is a political entity and that the world should face up to this reality. He calls for international support for Taiwan to have an appropriate international status.

May 22, 1997
The Executive Yuan adopts the "Organic Statutes for the Hong Kong Affairs Bureau" to provide legal status for government agencies stationed in Hong Kong after 1997.

May 23, 1997
The Government Information Office, under the Executive Yuan, issues a position paper on U.S-ROC Relations and pragmatic foreign policy to explain the government's fundamental position. The paper emphasizes that the ROC deserves the rights of a sovereign state, and calls for international attention to the ROC's sovereign status. It also notes that the government strongly opposes "one country, two systems."

June 14, 1997
When interviewed by the Washington Times, President Lee says, that the ROC government hopes Hong Kong continue to prosper after the reversion of its sovereignty and Taiwan-Hong Kong relations and cooperation can be enhanced. But, the ROC opposes solving the unification of China in the Hong Kong model.

June 16, 1997
SEF and ARATS confirm the records of the "Taiwan-Hong Kong Shipping Negotiations" and exchange a signed document.

June 16, 1997
MAC issues a position paper titled "the ROC Government's Position and Policy on Hong Kong after 1997."

June 23, 1997
In an interview with the Liberty Times, MAC Chairman Chang King-yuh says the ROC government is willing to embark on political and policy-level talks with Mainland China and is more than willing to plan for direct economic and trade links for designated trading areas when cross-strait relations improve.

July 1, 1997
Hong Kong returns to Mainland China's sovereignty, ending the British colonial rule of 156 years. At 1:30 a.m., the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) government is established. Tung Chee-hwa assumes the office as the HK SAR Chief Executive. MAC announces the establishment of the Hong Kong Affairs Bureau, and Cheng An-kuo is named the first director general. The "Statute Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macau" and 13 other related regulations are promulgated.

July 3, 1997
President Lee Teng-hui, while attending a tea reception for domestic and foreign journalists, says Taiwan is not Hong Kong and "one country, two systems" can by no means apply to Taiwan. The ROC government will never give up its free system or hopes for peace. He urges Mainland China maintain Hong Kong's prosperity and rule of law.

July 18, 1997
Chang King-yuh, chairman of the MAC, says that there are four prerequisites for unification. (1) Mainland China must respect the reality that the ROC does exist, (2) Taiwan security is guaranteed, (3) two sides can co-exist in international organizations, and (4) Mainland China renounces the use of force against Taiwan.

August 1, 1997
At the 70th anniversary of the founding of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, PRC Defense Minister Chi Haotian says, "The PRC would never renounce the use of force, specifically against the Taiwan independence movement, movement to split the mother land, and intervention by foreign forces."

August 8, 1997
MAC Vice Chairman Kao Koong-lian says Mainland China should face the reality of the cross-strait relations with a pragmatic attitude. If the PRC can consider adding the words that "Taiwan and the Mainland make up China" to further define the "one China Principle," the ROC government is willing to accept this.

September 1, 1997
At the opening ceremony of the International Forum for Asia-Pacific Security, President Lee Teng-hui reiterates that he is willing to take with him the consensus and will of Taiwan's 21.3 million people to visit the mainland in a tip of the olive branch. He is also willing to meet with top leadership of Mainland China for a direct exchange of views and open up a new epoch of cross-strait cooperation.

September 1, 1997
New Premier Vincent Siew speaks on his view of the development of cross-strait relations. He says the two sides should (1) shelve the disputes over sovereignty; (2) promote pragmatic exchanges; (3) proceed with negotiations on an equal footing; (4) carry out friendly interaction; and (5) establish a normal relationship.

October 9, 1997
Speaking at the celebration for National Day with the participation of overseas Chinese, Premier Vincent Siew again urges Mainland China to make a positive response to calls for ending the cross-strait hostility and, out of love for compatriots, use wisdom to promote cross-strait exchanges and negotiations.

October 10, 1997
ROC President Lee Teng-hui, chairing the celebration for the 86th ROC National Day by the central government, urges Mainland China to pay attention to the grand task for ending mutual hostility, resume negotiations, and engage in peaceful competition.

October 15, 1997
MAC Chairman Chang King-yuh, delivering a speech at a get-together party for journalist associations of the two sides, states that the government will continue to promote "pragmatic diplomacy" and "negotiations on an equal footing."

October 30, 1997
Commenting on cross-strait relations after the first summit between U.S. President Bill Clinton and PRC President Jiang Zemin, MAC urges Mainland China to face the reality that the two sides belong to separate jurisdictions, and immediately resume the Koo-Wang talks and other institutionalized channels with no prerequisites.

November 6, 1997
ARATS extends an invitation for SEF Secretary-general Chiao Jen-ho to lead a delegation of SEF board members to take part in the opening ceremony of a trade conference in the mainland, and visit Xiamen, Shanghai, and Beijing.

November 7, 1997
SEF replies with a new suggestion that SEF Chairman Koo Chen-fu lead a delegation to visit the mainland and meet various people. SEF also welcomes ARATS to visit Taiwan.

November 11, 1997
ARATS issues a news release saying that SEF Secretary-general Chiao Jen-ho is unable to attend the opening ceremony of the seminar or visit the mainland, thus loosing the opportunity for responsible persons of the two associations to meet. (ARATS does not mention these words in its letter to SEF.) ARATS later announces that the seminar is called off without giving any explanation.

December 19, 1997
In an interview with Sankei Shimbun of Japan, President Lee Teng-hui says that the ROC government is willing to resume the SEF-ARATS negotiations without any preconditions.