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Consensus Formed at the National Development Conference on Gross-Strait Relations Appendix III: National Development Conference Closing Address

  • Date:1997-02-28

Consensus Formed at the
National Development Conference
Gross-Strait Relations
Appendix III

National Development
Conference Closing Address
Lee Teng-hui
Republic of China
December 28, 1996

Convener Lien, Deputy Conveners, Ladies and Gentlemen:

During the past five days, the participants of this National development Conference have been engaged in intense discussion and sihcere consultations on the three main topics of the conference. They have accomplished much, achieving consensus on many issues. By drawing up a blueprint to carry national development into the next century, they have laid a solid foundation forthe future of our nation. Therefore, I would first like to take this opportunity to express to each of you my deep respect and heartfelt gratitude for the concern you have demonstrated on our nation's behalf, and for your enthusiastic and devoted contribution to this great undertaking.

The goals of the National Development Conference were many: we wanted to form a social consensus, we sought to draw upon the wisdom of all our fellow countrymen, and we needed to discuss measures that will help us overcome the obstacles to political and economic development. Achieving these goals will allow us to comprehensively raise our national competitiveness and accelerate our national development. The world has already entered an age of "developmentism." We must eradicate barriers and lower costs while promoting reform and encouraging development. Only in this way can we measure up to the competitive standards of the world's advanced nations.

Furthermore, this age of "developmentism" is also an age of communication and consultation. In the process of eradicating barriers and promoting reform, we cannot adopt autocratic methods. Rather, we must seek agreement on reform through communication and consultation. Individual will must be respected, just as communication and compromise must be used as tools to build consensus.

The conveners of this National Development Conference invitied a wide range of political parties and public figures to nominate reprsentatives to participate. A consultation mechanism was also set out for the conference: all items on which a consensus was achieved through consultation became "points of agreement." Items on which there was disagreement, even if the objection came from only one party, were termed "other opinions." it is my belief that this mechanism fits very well with the principle of modern democracy. Over the course of these five days of discussions, participants have demonstrated their sense of democracy and spirit of negotiation. I believe that regardless of the number of agreements reached, your democratic demeanor and earnest performance have set an example of democratic consultation that deserves the affirmation of society.

Just a few moments ago, I heard the final summary of the three major topics of the conference. Twenty-two"points of agreement" were reached in the area of constitutional system of government and multiparty politics, and agreement was reached on 36 items concerning cross-strait relations. As for economic development, the conference not only proposed three  macro-level development strategies but also drafted 134 concrete programs and measures. However, these successes were the fruits of much effort. From the preparatory stages of setting the conference agenda, exchanging opinions in pre-conference seminars and building a preliminary consensus, right through to the in-depth discussions, communication and consultation which took place at this conference, every participant has worked diligently, and the accomplishments that you have achieved are indeed to be cherished. Here, let me once again express my heartfelt appreciation to each one of you, and to all the ladies and gentlemen who participated in the preparatory work and the various discussions. I would also in particular like to reiterate a statement from my opening address to this conference:"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 enact them in the shortest time possible. "

Difficulties and obstacles are bound to arise in the course of reform. Reforms must be rooted in ideals, but practicality cannot be ignored. Only through the step-by-step promotion of reform will stability yield development. We must strive to put into practice the agreements we have achieved today. However, objective environmental restrictions kept the conference from reaching consensus on a number of issues, and these have thus been categorized as "other opinions." Nevertheless, with the passage of time agreement on these issues is still possible.

Let us therefore not brood over the fact that consensus has not been reached on these topics. National development issues, numerous as they are, will aslo change with time. While we may have solved the problems of today, new problems will arise tomorrow. Conferences and discussion on important national development issues must be called when real needs demand such action.

In the final summary, the cross-strait relations group proposed that a consultative body for making policy decisions regarding relations with the Chinese mainland be established. Now, I would like to announce that a national development consultative organ will be established under the Office of the President, and under this organ three ad hoc research and consultative task forces will be established, dealing with the constitutional system of government, economic development, and cross-strait relations. Additional task forces may also be formed to study other issues when necessary. These task forces will invite representatives from political parties and the general community at appropriate times to discuss important national development issues, work out agreements, and formulate optimal strategies for the future.

In closing, I would like to express my best wishes for the good health and happiness of each and every one present, and for the peace, stability, and development of our nation. Thank you!