Go TO Content

Statement on the Handover of Macao

Executive Yuan
Republic of China

December 19, 1999

The Portuguese rule of Macao will formally end tomorrow, after a history of more than 400 years. The last scar of colonialism will be eliminated from Chinese soil--a situation which is gratifying to Chinese at home and abroad. The ROC government hopes Macao will progress in a new form of development.

Macao¡¦s role as an intermediary for cross-strait interchange of personnel and trade, as well as East-West cultural exchanges, should not be affected by its change of status; rather, Macao should further its unique role. The ROC government hopes the authorities on the Chinese mainland will truly abide by their pledge of ¡§rule of Macao by Macao people¡¨ and ¡§highly-autonomous rule,¡¨ in order to provide a firm foundation for the long-term development of Macao.

Our relationship with Macao has been close, and we hope that there will be room for further development in the future. The ROC government has enacted the Statute Governing Relations with Hong Kong and Macao to provide a legal basis for future development and to protect trade, tourism, and economic, cultural, and educational exchanges after the 1999 reversion.

The policy of the ROC government to protect the well-being of people on Macao will not change. We hope that the relationship of Taiwan and Macao will develop steadily and constructively. We also hope that the mainland authorities and the government of the Macao Special Administrative Region will show their goodwill by joining us to promote a prosperous relationship between Taiwan and Macao based upon the following principles:

1. Reciprocity: Cooperation based on reciprocity ensures benefits for both parties. Only if we begin on the basis of reciprocity will we enjoy a complementary functional relationship; and only then will Macao gain an impetus for its economic development.

2. Continuity: Taiwan's relations with Macao will remain unchanged under the principle of reciprocity and mutual benefit. Exchanges between the two sides should not be compromised by Macao's change of status; rather, they should be allowed to develop systematically so bilateral relations can be further enhanced.

3. Law: The basis of the ROC government is the rule of law. The relevant laws will be applied to Macao relations and Macao residents living in Taiwan. We hope the authorities in the Macao Special Administrative Region will also protect our rights and interests in Macao in accordance with goodwill and law.

As we proceed into the 21st century, the handover of Macao should afford a new opportunity for interchange among the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Macao. Therefore, we call on the authorities in Beijing to understand our measures for promoting cross-strait relations with a pragmatic and open-minded attitude, strengthen mutual exchanges and contacts, and jointly establish a new, democratic, and unifie