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:
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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