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Former President Lee: Taiwan must declare sovereignty

Taipei, 21 July 2000

In a book, to be published at the end of July, former President Lee Teng-hui has stated that Taiwan must declare to the world that it is a sovereign nation.

In the book, titled "Asia's Strategy", President Lee writes that after many years of control by alien regimes, such as the Japanese and the Chinese Nationalists, Taiwan has now developed into a democratic, sovereign country.

With full democracy, Taiwan has been reborn as a "new republic" and is not a province controlled by the mainland, President Lee writes. "Taiwan must declare to the world that it is a sovereign nation or risk being taken over by the mainland", he adds. The new book is printed in Japanese, and excerpts were translated into Chinese and printed by the Taipei-based Liberty Times.

"Regarding Taiwan's identity, we have already reached the state of the 'Taiwan Republic of China'," Mr Lee writes. "The Republic of China no longer is the Republic of China, but is a new republic or the second republic," says Mr Lee, who quit as president in May after 12 years.

"... for the sake of Taiwan's future, I believe this is a step that must be taken," he says. "I was worried that the succeeding President Chen Shui-bian might not continue to push forwards this task, ... but I believe he will continue to do it."

In the book, to be marketed in Japan next week, Mr Lee writes that although Taiwan had long been controlled by alien regimes, first by Japan as a colonial ruler and later the Kuomintang from the mainland, it has developed into a sovereign country following a decade of democratisation.

Mr Lee writes that he proclaimed the "state-to-state relations" out of concern that Beijing was continuing to push Taiwan into a corner, and might make a declaration that Taiwan was a local government of China on the 50th anniversary of its establishment last October - thereby further isolating Taiwan internationally.

Further information on the book can be found in the article titled: Say it loud, Lee's book hails Taiwan as a `new republic' in the Taipei Times, and the 23 July 2000 editorial in the Taipei Times..