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Mainland Affairs Council

History

Remarks at the Meeting with Qian Qichen

Koo Chen-fu
Chairman
Straits Exchange Foundation , Republic of China
October 18, 1998

Thank you, Mr. Qian, for your precious time to meet with us. Before our delegation returns to Taiwan tomorrow, I would like to thank your side for having carefully arranged our trip here and making it possible for me to once again visit the places I have not seen for 50 years as well as to have the opportunity to exchange views on the future development of cross-strait relations. For this, I would like to express to you my heartfelt appreciation.

Our visits to Peking University and the Palace Museum yesterday morning have left me profoundly touched. Both Taiwan and the mainland share the same lineage and a common culture. Likewise, we should both hold common expectations and move in the same direction while seeking the welfare of the entire Chinese population.

In our ten years of exchanges, cross-strait relations have advanced noticeably, particularly with regard to civilian contacts. However, quite a number of difficulties and obstacles remain. Why is this so? In the final analysis, their origin lies in the mainland authorities' denial of one simple fact, which is the existence of the Republic of China. When the Chinese were defeated in the Sino-Japanese war of 1894-1895, the Manchu government ceded Taiwan to Japan. Taiwan was returned to the Republic of China, founded in 1912, according to the Potsdam Declaration after the Second World War. Beginning in 1949, the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been ruled by different entities. Neither side has ever exercised its power of jurisdiction over the other. A "China under divided rule" is a fact that defies denial. On our part, we recognized this reality as early as 1991 and have since viewed cross-strait relations in a new light. We have also taken a series of goodwill measures. We have announced the termination of the Period of National Mobilization for Suppression of the Communist Rebellion and renounced the use of military force in the handling of cross-strait issues. We have made pragmatic adjustments in political, economic, military and legal affairs to adapt to new cross-strait developments. We have also expanded exchanges and engaged in positive consultations to make a concrete contribution to peace in the Taiwan Strait. However, the mainland has yet to make a positive response to all our efforts. Instead, it has refused to accept the historical fact that the two sides are under "divided rule." It has also denied the existence of an important political and economic entity--the Republic of China. Not only has it devised all sorts of means to suppress us internationally, its visitors to the island have not given due respect to existing institutions on Taiwan. All these have intensified our people's negative feelings and become an obstacle to the further development of cross-strait relations.

In the post-Cold War era, the global trend has been to promote understanding through exchanges and resolve differences through consultation. Now that it has expanded its contact with the outside world, the mainland should take an open-minded approach and a positive outlook when dealing with cross-strait interactions in the world arena. Over the past 40-odd years, the people of Taiwan have worked side by side, diligently and vigorously, and have succeeded in creating a free, democratic and prosperous society. We have tried our best to play an active role in, and contributed our very best to the global community. Our accomplishments have naturally received worldwide respect and friendship. Therefore, we firmly believe that prior to the democratic reunification of China, Taiwan should have its own international presence, and cooperate with the mainland internationally. If the mainland deliberately and unilaterally presumes that the Republic of China does not exist, clearly there is no ground for political dialogue. It would only arouse negative feelings among the people of Taiwan and shake the foundation of mutual trust between the two sides. This is unfavorable to cross-strait development, and in reality prevents the two sides from advancing from divided rule toward paths that will bring them closer together.

We believe that the Chinese people on the two sides of the Taiwan Strait have many opportunities to cooperate in the international arena. The two sides can support each other and learn to work together. This will in no way interfere with the future democratic reunification of the country. Instead, it will increase the strength of the Chinese people in the global community. We hope that the two sides can participate together in international affairs for the sake of world peace and also terminate the zero-sum game as a first step toward ending mutual antagonism.

The Chinese are a peace-loving people. The two sides should share mutual respect and understanding and gradually improve relations through exchanges, cooperations and consultations, thereby creating favorable conditions for future democratic reunification.