Go TO Content

President Chen Shui-bian's Sep. 6 (Fourth) Press Conference ( excerpt : cross-strait relations )

  • Date:2000-09-06

III. Question and Answer Session

Q2: Mr. President, you just mentioned that normalized bilateral relations should begin with normalized economic relations. The Executive Yuan has raised a proposal to allow the three direct links to be conducted in a narrower scope at the end of the year. Just now you also said that we have to be confident for the three direct links to be successfully opened between the two sides. I would like to know what you mean by normalized economic relations and what is the final goal. What national security issues do you think might be involved in the normalization of economic relations?

A: I have mentioned several times that the normalization of bilateral relations is the common expectation of everyone. However, normalized bilateral relations can only begin by first normalizing trade and economic relations. I also said that we have to review our mainland economic policies under the principles of national security, market operation, market proportion, and reciprocity.

Indeed, national security is very important. However, if we have no faith in ourselves, we will keep feeling that our nation is insecure. Our confidence is the best guarantee of national security. Of course, we can always avoid these problems by finding a good excuse, such as national security. However, can we solve problems by finding excuses to avoid the problems? The government is required to take care of many things; however, in some cases, hasn't it done too much? Should the government ignore some things? I think all these are a problem of mindset and confidence.

Bilateral relations are closely related to economic development. We cannot bury our heads in the sand or pretend to be deaf and dumb. I know that many people are very concerned about national security and have raised principles such as "go slow and be patient" and "strengthen the root and move westward." However, such sloganism does not mean very much.

The most important thing is whether we face the problems and have confidence in ourselves. This is the key point. All policies have good and bad sides, but ultimately we must face the situation and make a decision. I am willing to listen to different opinions and will not stand still and refuse to make any progress. Thank you for your concern on this issue.

Q5: In the first meeting of the Multiparty Task Force, Academia Sinica President Lee Yuan-tseh said that we should return to the 1992 consensus of the "one China" principle with each side having its own interpretation. However, a few days ago Vice President Lu said in a speech that we should not discuss the 1992 consensus. In the presidential press conference in July, you called on both sides of the strait to return to the 1992 spirit. Would you please comment on this?

A: First, I have already said that both sides of the strait should handle the "one China" issue on the existing foundation and adhere to the principles of democracy and parity. I have also said that the existing foundation includes the spirit of 1992, which is dialogue, exchanges, and shelving controversial disputes. Today, it is not a problem of what we can or cannot discuss, for there are many things that cannot be avoided. Although we may not talk, we still cannot avoid this issue.

However, since we have a consultative mechanism in the Multiparty Task Force, I am willing to wait. I hope that through the Multiparty Task Force, a basic consensus and final agreement will be established. Therefore, I understand the comments made by Lee Yuan-tseh the other day. It is clear that what is most important is the Multiparty Task Force's consensus and agreement, and that Lee Yuan-tseh's talk as the convenor is just a personal view. Taiwan is a democratic society, and we respect different opinions and thoughts. I am willing to have an open mind and through the operational mechanism of the Multiparty Task Force establish a consensus of all people. I hope that everybody will support the work of the Multiparty Task Force. It should be given a fair opportunity to do its best. Thank you.

Q6: On the issue of "three links" between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, you just mentioned that this is the right time for it. However, during the press conference on June 20, you specifically said that, unless the two sides engaged in dialogue and negotiations, the issue of three links can not be discussed. How has the situation changed in the past three months? What makes you think that now is the right time for the three links?

A: Actually, there is no contradiction at all. I said before that we were willing to begin negotiations with the Chinese mainland at any time. We have not preset any topics for discussion. We have not even excluded discussing political topics. I have also said that, so long as it helps improve cross-strait relations, whether it is the second or third route, we will welcome it optimistically and encourage it. I consider the "three mini links" to only be a measure of regional "decriminalization." If the two sides do not talk, the three mini links cannot be started. It is merely one side's wishful thinking. Of course, to proceed with the "three links," the two sides should also meet, calmly and sensibly.

Therefore, I said we should put aside disputes and begin dialogue and exchanges. Some problems may be solved temporarily, but it will be impossible if the two sides refuse to budge. Therefore, the first step of normalizing cross-strait relations should be normalizing trade relations. The topic of the "three links" is one of them. If the mainland is sincere, friendly, and willing to discuss, we believe, before the end of this year, we can successfully promote both the "three mini links" and the "transportation link," which is one the "three links." So long as the two sides are willing to talk and negotiate with sincerity, who says that the "transportation link" cannot be completed in a short period of time? Hence, I have not changed my stance, appeals, or belief. However, we really hope that the Chinese mainland can understand that ending the impasse depends on the efforts of both sides. I do not believe that the leaders, governments, and people of the two sides lack the wisdom and creativity to do this. I still have strong confidence and unlimited hope in improving cross-strait relations in the future.

Q9: Regarding the WTO, will Taiwan accept entry as a "special customs territory of China"?

A: Not only does Taiwan reject it, the US, EU, and many other countries also oppose to this idea. If mainland China wants to obfuscate and politicize simple issues, such as WTO entry and economic and non-political issues, it will not be supported. We believe that the attitude of the US and many other countries is clear enough for mainland China to think seriously. I have confidence in the entry of both sides of the Taiwan Strait and the elimination of any unnecessary, excessive, and unreasonable demands.