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Consensus Formed at the National Development Conference on Gross-Strait Relations Appendix II: National Development Conference Opening Address

  • Date:1997-02-28

Consensus Formed at the
National Development Conference
Gross-Strait Relations
Appendix II   National Development
Conference Opening Address
Lee Teng-hui
Republic of China
December 23, 1996

Convener Lien, Deputy Conveners, Ladies and Gentlemen:

Bearing the high hopes of all our compatriots, and charged with a historic mission, we assemble today to convene the National Development Conference, so that we may contribute our wisdom and reach agreements regarding the blueprint for our national development into the next century. Our mission is solemn, our responsibilities immense, and the influence of what we do will be far-reaching. I would first like to express my respect to members of the preparatory committee for their liaison and coordination efforts and meticulous planning over the past two months or so, and would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those present today for their enthusiastic participation.

The past few years, all of our citizens have worked together to carry out momentous political, economic, social and cultural reforms, with prodigious results. In the area of political reform, in particular, people at all levels of society have overcome difficulty after difficulty, one at a time, solving many crises, and ultimately establishing today's democracy where "power lies in the hands of the people." This momentous historic achievement can mainly be credited to the firm belief of our entire citizenry in the pursuit of democracy, and in their solid determination to flinch from no challenge.

On March 23, 1996, we held the first direct presidential election in the history of the Chinese nation, proudly starting a new chapter in the democratic development of this country. From this election I received a solemn mandate, and am keenly aware that our citizens hold high expectations for the new age, ardent hopes for their society, and exacting demands for new institutions. In other words, after democratic reforms our citizens hope that a stable and unified political situation can be built upon our pluralistic social foundation. And that within this framework, we can focus the will, wisdom and strength of the entire citizenry to carry out comprehensive national development into the next century and come out ahead in the intense global competition to attain sustainable development. Accordingly, during my inaugural address last May 20, I solemnly proclaimed that I would instruct our government to invite figures of all walks of life from both the ruling and opposition parties to discuss and reach agreement on the major issues of our future national development and come up with new solutions. Convening this National Development Conference is the fulfillment of my promise, and is the starting point for reuniting all citizens and forging ahead once more.

After extensive discussion by our preparatory committee, three major topics were set for this conference: "Constitutional Government and Multiparty Politics," "Economic Development, " and "Cross-Strait Relations," with separate discussion outlines formulated. The first topic concerns issues pertaining to the further development and consolidation of democracy in our country; the second topic touches upon issues of further improving the welfare and quality of life for our citizens and enhancing our national competitiveness; while the third involves issues of further examining security in the Taiwan Strait and furthering cross-strait exchange reciprocity. All of these involve the grand design for the future survival and development of our 21.4 million people. And precisely because each topic has such broad implications, we must consider both ideals and realities, as well as principles and strategies. Only with a farsighted vision of the future, thorough analysis, and practicable plans can we build a solid foundation for the lasting peace and prosperity for our nation and the longterm well-being of our citizens.

Each of you in attendance today are distinguished experts in your respective fields. I hope that you will work conscientiously and selflessly to explore these issues from every angle, with a solemn sense of mission and lofty aspirations, regardless of your party affiliation or background. I shall overcome all obstacles with the greatest sincerity and determination in accordance with the procedures of our system to transform the resolutions of this conference into policies, and to enact them in the shortest time possible.

I firmly believe the essential principle of democracy to be that the people are their nation's master and sovereign. Political arties and those in government must understand the will of the people and guide themselves accordingly. Today the fervent hope of all our citizens is that national security be safeguarded, social stability be maintained, government be more effective, and that the entire resources of our nation be solidly integrated and put to use for national development, rather than being wasted and dissipated through needless rivalry. The goal of our meeting here for this conference is to work for the public, and the impetus for this conference totally comes from them. All we have to do is remain in touch with how the public feels and we can easily iron out our differences, reach agreement, and ultimately succeed.

Ladies and Gentlemen: We face a solemn responsibility, and have our future before us. The new age is spurring us on; the new century is beckoning us. It is incumbent upon us to exercise collective wisdom and work to create a wonderful future for our country. I hope that all of you present will consider yourselves new-age engineers and new-century navigators, marking an everlastingly glorious milestone on the long journey of our country into the next century.

Finally, I wish this conference every success, and everyone health and happiness! Thank you.