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Opening Remarks at the International Conference on "Chinese Path to Modernization under One-Party Rule"

  • Date:2023-11-30

Ensuring Democracy and Freedom in Taiwan, Building Peaceful Cross-Strait Relations

Opening Remarks at the International Conference on

"Chinese Path to Modernization under One-Party Rule"

By Minister Chiu Tai-san

Mainland Affairs Council of the Republic of China

November 30, 2023

  Ambassador Orrukem, Ambassador Paeniu, President Li of National Chengchi University, Director Kuo of the Institute of International Relations, Professor David Shambaugh, Distinguished Scholars and Experts , Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning!

  I am deeply honored to join you today for the international conference on "Chinese Path to Modernization under One-Party Rule" held by the Institute of International Relations at National Chengchi University by commission of the Mainland Affairs Council (MAC). Together we will look closely at the current situation in mainland China and the potential development trends ahead. This conference takes on particular meaning at this time, when the world's democracies face unprecedented challenges from the expansionist ambitions of this highly authoritarian state, and as human civilization faces both progress and setbacks, crises and opportunities.

  Mainland China has reaped the fruits of globalization, growing to become the world's second largest economy in 2010. In the decade following, it has been driving its transformation from an economic powerhouse into a great military power. As it tries to annex Taiwan, it has also been challenging the rule-based international order on all fronts. This has significantly threatened not just peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait but security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region.

  It is our assessment that, in order to realize its "Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation," the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has been seeking to build a "great modern socialist state" through "Chinese-style modernization." What merits our closer attention is whether or not the development path of "socialist modernization with Chinese characteristics" and "common prosperity" can guarantee mainland Chinese people basic human rights, freedom, democracy, and a better quality of life. If not, such an objective will only degenerate into another policy tool and propaganda slogan of the CCP's authoritarian rule.

  Facing the complex situation presented by a stalemated Russia-Ukraine war and resurgent grave conflict between Israel and Hamas, the international community has become more aware that preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is vital to global security and prosperity. Therefore, it has spoken with one voice against the CCP's unilateral attempts and actions to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait. The government of the Republic of China will continue to respond to this responsibly with a commitment to maintaining the peaceful and stable cross-Strait status quo. President Tsai Ing-wen has reiterated multiple times that peace is the only option for the two sides across the Taiwan Strait, and maintaining the status quo is the greatest common denominator of for all sides. We will keep our promises, maintain the status quo, and uphold the "Four Commitments." We will not act provocatively or rashly, nor will we yield to pressure. We will deepen our partnership with other democracies to jointly defend universal values of freedom and democracy, resist the threats from authoritarian regimes, maintain regional peace and prosperity, and serve as a force for good in the world. We also remain dedicated to the task of strengthening our self-defense capabilities, our high-tech industries, and the resilience of our economy and society to ensure that our national sovereignty and dignity are never undermined.

  At this complex and changing time in international and regional circumstances, Beijing should appreciate the value of peace and prosperity. A secure and stable international environment is critical for mainland China to earn the world's respect and advance smoothly on the path to modernization and peaceful development. We must stress again: maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait is a responsibility shared by both sides of the Taiwan Strait. Beijing should assume the role of a responsible power and fulfill its obligations and duties to global peace and stability. It should stop intimidating and coercing Taiwan, abandon its rigid political framework, and face the fact of the existence of the Republic of China (Taiwan). The two sides of the Taiwan Strait must replace "confrontation" with "dialogue," move from "conflict" to "cooperation," and approach cross-Strait exchanges pragmatically and with an open mind. In this way, we can progressively eliminate the spiraling hostility, rebuild goodwill and mutual trust, establish positive interaction in cross-Strait relations, and jointly promote stability and prosperity in the Taiwan Strait and this region.

  As British Prime Minister Winston Churchill famously said: "Never let a good crisis go to waste." The security crisis in the Taiwan Strait arises from the threat and challenge posed by authoritarian mainland China. The government of the Republic of China (Taiwan) remains fully dedicated to preserving peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. It will coordinate closely with other democracies to stay informed of the evolving governance mindset of Xi Jinping, the CCP's internal and external policy shifts, and latest developments. We will also adopt countermeasures to seek a path to peace.

  In closing, I would like to extend my appreciation to all of the esteemed and accomplished scholars who have taken time from your busy schedules to join us for today's event. We look forward to the sharing of your long-term observations and research findings on the situation in mainland China. I trust that with a deeper and broader understanding of the CCP's institutions and the current situation in mainland China, the democratic world will be able to respond more appropriately to the expansionism and threats by authoritarian states. I wish today's conference a great success and everyone here all happy and in good health. Thank you!