Taiwan Communiqué No. 66, June 1995

Lee Teng-hui responds to Jiang Zemin

In our previous issue (Taiwan Communiqué no. 65, pp. 5-8), we discussed the "Eight-point-plan" presented by China's leader Jiang Zemin on 30 January 1995, and concluded it was old wine in a leaky bottle, since it stuck to old positions, and did not recognize the reality of a new Taiwan.

Shortly after we went to press with our April 1995 issue, there finally was a formal response from the Taiwan side: on Saturday, 8 April 1995, President Lee Teng-hui gave a speech to a meeting of the National Unification Council, in which he replied to the overtures by Jiang.

Mr. Lee focused on the fact that Taiwan and China are two separate entities, and urged the Chinese to renounce the use of force in resolving the dispute across the Taiwan Straits. Below we shortly summarize the main points:

  1. Only by respecting the fact that Taiwan and mainland China have been governed as two political sovereign entities since 1949 can the unification problem be solved.
  2. Chinese culture has been the pride of all Chinese people. Both sides should therefore cherish this brotherhood and enhance bilateral exchange.
  3. Bilateral trade and communication should be expanded. Taiwan's economy should regard the mainland as a market and a place which provides raw materials and labor, while the mainland economy can look to Taiwan as an example. Taiwan is willing to offer technology and experience to help the mainland's agriculture and improve its economy and living standards. Bilateral trade can be discussed when both sides are ready.
  4. Both sides should participate in international organizations, and Taiwan does not rule out the possibility that leaders from both sides can meet at international fora, such as APEC meetings.
  5. The mainland should demonstrate its goodwill by announcing a willingness to forgo a military solution. This is the basis for bilateral peace talks to end hostility between the two sides. To use "foreign interference" and "Taiwan independence" as an excuse to maintain a military option is to ignore and distort the ROC's nation-building spirit.
  6. The two sides should jointly ensure democracy and prosperity in Hong Kong and Macau.

Taiwan Communique comment: Mr. Lee's speech goes somewhat in the right direction by emphasizing that the Chinese leaders should renounce the use of force, before peace talks on ending of hostility can be held. Rightly, Mr. Lee did not discuss "peaceful unification" (a non-starter under any condition), but instead stressed the need for cooperation and "bilateral peace talks." However, he could have gone much further in emphasizing Taiwan's right to determine its own future, and its right to sovereignty as an independent nation state.

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