Go TO Content

Mainland Affairs Council

Briefing Room

Statement on mainland China's White Paper (Feb 25, 2000)

Republic of China

February 25, 2000

The mainland policy of the ROC government has consistently been based on the respect for separate rule of the two sides of the Taiwan Strait. Through dialogues and exchanges, the ROC government has gradually promoted the normalization of cross-Strait relations in order to maintain the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait and enhance the cross-Strait reconciliation step by step.

In April 1993, the Koo-Wang Talks in Singapore reached four historical agreements on the basis of respecting the reality of separate rule across the Taiwan Strait. At that time, the international community had high expectation on the positive progress of the peace in the Taiwan Strait and cross-Strait relations. However, the PRC authority released the so-called "Taiwan Question and China's Unification" white paper in eight languages to the international community in August 1993. It tried to distort the international community's recognition of the "negotiation on equal footing" and place the cross-Strait relations again into its consistent framework of "the relationship between the principal and the subordinate".

During the official campaign activities of the ROC's 10th presidential election, the PRC authority again released a white paper of "the One China Principle and Taiwan Question" on February 21, 2000. It is quite obvious that the PRC intends to influence the ROC's presidential election and mislead the international community. Judging from the contents of the white paper, the PRC unilaterally narrows the definition of "one China", trying to impose it on us and the international community, meanwhile, over-expands the definition of "Taiwan's independence". As a result, the room for "one China respectively interpreted by each side" is intentionally squeezed.

We must solemnly point out that the ROC government will by no means agree with the PRC's unilateral definition of "one China". The ROC has always been an independent sovereign state. This fact will not be changed by the issuing of a mere "white paper". If China is unified, why does the unification issue still exist? If China is one, why bother to mention "one China"? In the white paper, the PRC mentions "the ROC has terminated its historical status", "The PRC has …its sovereignty over Taiwan" and " Taiwan is….in fact only a local government on Chinese soil". All of these statements not only seriously run counter to the fact, but also arouse the aversion of the people in Taiwan, hurting the sentiments of people across the Strait, intensifying the tension of two sides of the Strait and making the existing numerous problems more difficult to be solved.

While we uphold the position of the ROC's existence, we are willing to face the reality that two sides of the Taiwan Strait are ruled by separate governments and are not subordinate to each other. We pragmatically identify the current cross-Strait relations as "special state-to-state relationship". Based on that, we will negotiate with the PRC on parity basis, intensify exchanges, find similarities while overcoming differences and strive for a win-win situation. It is our hope that both sides can gradually move toward a new China with democracy, freedom and equitable prosperity according to the short, middle and long term phases of the Guidelines for National Unification.

Over the past decade or more, private cross-Strait exchanges have continued to expand with our active promotion. The quality of exchanges, however, has deteriorated due to Beijing’s practice of “politics takes command”. Exchange activities were often called off abruptly because of Beijing’s excuse of “inharmonious atmosphere”. In the area of cross-Strait negotiations, we took the initiative to begin semi-official talks with Beijing in 1991, and our attitudes toward such talks have become more and more open ever since. Beijing, on the contrary, has fallen back from its previous stance and even interrupted cross-Strait negotiations twice with excuses. Until today, Beijing has not followed the terms of our agreements to meet with each other once every season, to proceed with the second Koo-Wang Talks, and to fulfill the promise of Mr. Wang Daohan’s visit to Taiwan for a constructive dialogue. These facts proved that it was Beijing that undermined exchanges; it was Beijing that turned down negotiations; and it was Beijing that sabotaged the process of peaceful unification.

Beijing has never reflected upon itself. Instead, it continues to threaten us with military bluff and squeeze our space in the diplomatic field. These moves have greatly affected the normal development of cross-Strait relations as well as peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait. Beijing’s statement in the “white paper” clearly exposes its aggressive nature and hegemonic mindset. We must solemnly point out that the Republic of China does not succumb to military threat of any kind. Armed forces or military threat can not solve any problem; rather, it creates more problems. At the turn of this century, Beijing should, in response to the voice of the people and recognition of global trends, actively seek ways to resolve disputes and make peace.

Beijing has repeatedly escalated its military threat targeted at Taiwan during the critical moments when the ROC implements democracy. On the one hand, this shows Beijing’s rejection and fear of democracy. On the other hand, it is a stark contrast between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait: democracy and totalitarianism; peace and violence. We must point out solemnly that the Republic of China’s mainland policy is built on a solid foundation with strong popular support. The government and people of the Republic of China will never change their determination to defend democracy and sovereignty, to prohibit outside forces from interfering with our democratic election, and to seek peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

We have always maintained that the similarities and differences in the two systems are the core issues of cross-Strait relations. Therefore, we will be glad to see the mainland system be integrated with the international free economic system at an early date. We also hope the mainland will soon begin reforms on its political system and social structure, which will not only benefit its social stability but also promote its long-term democratization. Such transitions will be critical to the development of cross-Strait relations and national unification in the future.

We would like to reiterate that the two sides of the Taiwan Strait should, under the consensus of “one China respectively interpreted by each side”, restore bilateral talks as soon as possible and strengthen exchanges to develop constructive cross-Strait relations with joint efforts.