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Full Text of Dr. Lien Chan’s Speech at US-China Policy Foundation on Nov. 12, 2013

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Full Text of Dr. Lien Chan’s Speech at US-China Policy Foundation on Nov. 12, 2013 

 

Dr. Lien Chan (連戰), Honorary Chairman of the Kuomintang Party (KMT), was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the US-China Policy Foundation (USCPF) in Washington D.C. on November 12 for his longstanding contributions to the peace and stability of cross-Strait relations.  

Lien received the award at the USCPF's 18th annual gala dinner, at which Ambassador James Sasser, a former U.S. Ambassador to Mainland China as well as a former U.S. Senator, was also presented with the same award for his long public service and contributions to U.S.-China relations. 

The USCPF is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1995 to promote greater understanding between American and Chinese policymakers and to improve U.S.-China relations.

 

The following is the full text of Dr. Lien’s speech:  

 
 
Mr. Chairman, Honorable Members of Congress, distinguished guests, friends of the US-China Policy Foundation, ladies and gentlemen: 
 
Good evening
 
Thank you for the extremely warm welcome you have accorded me, and thank you, Mr. Chairman, for your very generous words of introduction. It is indeed an honor and privilege to be the honoree at this gala dinner of the U.S.-China Policy Foundation in Washington, DC. The U.S.-China Policy Foundation has contributed greatly to promoting a greater understanding between U.S. and Chinese policymakers, researchers, and government officials, as well as offering tremendous opportunities for researchers and foreign policy establishment to interact in more diverse and substantial ways.
 
I note with interest that the U.S.-China Policy Foundation was founded in 1995 in response to the misunderstandings and misperceptions that caused occasional frictions between the United States and China and to ensure the continued improvement of U.S.-China relations. Exactly one decade later, in 2005, I undertook the Journey of Peace to the Mainland of China. My goal was to turn around the deteriorating relations across the Taiwan Strait, and thus make a modest contribution to ensure the improvement of the Taipei-Beijing-Washington bilateral ties.
 
Therefore, today I would like, first of all, to draw a picture of the situation in the Taiwan Strait in 2005 that led me to embark on the Journey of Peace that year.  Since 2000, the DPP administration under Chen Shui-bian, kept pushing to revise the official title of the country, author a new Constitution, launch a plebiscite to enter the United Nations under the name of Taiwan, and advocate one country on either side of the Taiwan Strait. In short, the DPP called for an outright declaration of de jure Taiwan independence.  Tensions thus began to escalate dangerously in the Taiwan Strait.  In March 2005, the Mainland promulgated an “Anti-Secession Act,” specifically stipulating that it would not rule out the use of non-peaceful means in the event of a declaration of de jure Taiwan independence.   The Nationalist Party, or the KMT, of which I had the honor to serve as Chairman at the time, was in the opposition.  We had to do something to defuse the tensions and, more importantly, to ensure the outside world understood that there was a more moderate and rational voice, that in fact represented the majority of the people on Taiwan.
 
Therefore, on April 26, 2005, I resolved to accept an invitation of General Secretary Hu Jintao of the Communist Party of Mainland China and made an ice-breaking voyage to the Chinese Mainland.  The two sides of the Strait had been separated for fifty-six years.  Now, for the first time in six decades, the KMT and the Communist Party leaders could finally meet.  We did our utmost to ensure stability and establish a win-win relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait.  We tried to show the way to prosperity for the Chinese nation.
 
In my opinion, as well as that of many others, General Secretary Hu is equally, if not more, deserving the honor accorded to me this evening. It was his determination, macro-vision and perseverance that made my voyage possible.  
 
The Journey of Peace lasted only a little over a week.  It was brief in duration, but enormous in significance.  Before my meeting with General Secretary Hu, I delivered a speech at Peking University, and I said that the purpose of my visit was to ensure peace, and move toward a win-win future.  My goal was to ensure the people’s livelihood on both sides of the Strait, and promote ever-lasting peace.  I was convinced that the tide of history is irreversible.  The key, I felt, was public opinion on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.  Public opinion would unlock a better future for the Chinese nation.  Public opinion would enable the two sides to move towards peace and co-prosperity.  The journey might be long and time-consuming.  But there was no turning back.  We must have the courage to go on.
 
I asked the students at Peking University where they thought the future of China lay and which course we should take. I warned them that the way ahead of us was fraught with twists and turns. I noted that we had missed many a turn in the past, gone astray, and wasted some years of hard trekking. I reminded them that we had learned many a painful and baneful lesson. I said your responsibility was to find a way forward for the people of China and do whatever was necessary to prevent the Chinese nation from taking a road to war and bloodshed again.  
 
Some people might question my courage to go there and ask from where that courage came. I told the students I had the courage because I was going with the tide of history and performing the will of the people.
 
I was also deeply convinced that history would give our journey of peace a due assessment.  My conviction was based on the fact that we were building bridges and paving the road in keeping with the will of the public for the benefit of the people on both sides of the Strait, breaking again the stalemate between them, ending their confrontation, and resuming dialogue to attain reconciliation and peace.  
 
After my speech at Peking University, I met with General Secretary Hu, and we reached Five Points of Vision for Peace.  We would accomplish five goals.  One. We would push for the resumption of cross-Strait negotiations, seeking the common welfare of people on both sides of the Strait.  Two. We would push for the termination of hostilities, reaching a peace agreement.  Three. We would push for comprehensive cross-Strait economic exchanges, establishing a cross-Strait economic cooperation mechanism.  Four. We would push for consultations on Taiwan's participation in international activities, something desired by the public on Taiwan. Five. We would establish a platform for regular party to party communication.
 
This initiative laid the groundwork for public and private cross-Strait exchanges and cooperation.  Beginning in May 2008, after the KMT came back to power, exchanges and cooperation in fields as diverse as culture, tourism, travel, trade, agriculture, and education, all had a positive effect. They led to progress by leaps and bounds.  The results were dazzling.  They dissolved cross-Strait hostility and confrontation, and transmuted it into cross-Strait cooperation and exchange.  They established a win-win relationship, culminating in the signing of a Cross-Strait Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) in 2010.  In short, they introduced the possibility of peaceful development.
 
Last February, at the invitation of General-Secretary Xi Jinping of the Chinese Communist Party, I made another trip to Beijing. We met at the Fujian Hall of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. During the meeting with Xi, I proposed some   principles for cross-Strait relations, i.e., one-China, cross-Strait peace, mutually beneficial economic integration, and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. 
 
I told Xi that cross-Strait relations had entered another crucial stage and expressed the hope that both sides of the Strait could establish a balanced, equal, and effective political framework. I told him that both sides of the Strait upheld the “one China principle” within its own laws and systems, and Taiwan was part of China (Republic of China to Taiwan), and the Mainland was also part of China, thus forging cross-Strait relations on the basis of the “one China framework,” not state-to-state relations. I went on to say that the “1992 Consensus” was the basis for cross-Strait political mutual trust and had to be upheld. 
 
I told Xi that both sides of the Strait should seek commonalities under the “one China framework,” and shelve the differences in the “one China definition” on the basis of the “1992 Consensus” and “opposing Taiwan independence,” with the prospect of the development of constructive cross-Strait relations in the future. I said that both sides of the Strait should end hostilities and gradually resolve disputes. Xi and I both thought that Chinese people on both sides of the Strait shared the same destiny.   
  
The United States has always encouraged and supported the peaceful development in relations across the Taiwan Strait.  The leaders of the US government have said on many occasions that this is in the interest of the people across the Strait, in the interest of Asia, and in the interest of the world.
 
On the other hand, the US has maintained with Mainland China not only diplomatic ties, but also a strategic partnership.  In this triangle, Taipei, Washington, and Beijing, exist three bilateral relationships, i.e., Taipei-Washington, Washington-Beijing, and Taipei-Beijing.  All three bilateral relationships are close, stable, and connected. This stability contributes greatly to the continued peaceful development of cross-Strait relations.
 
In other words, we have started a new beginning as both sides of the Strait focus on peaceful development.  Gone are the days of hot war, cold war, confrontations, and conflicts. This conciliatory approach eventually led to a relationship based on mutual trust, benign interaction, seeking commonality and shelving differences, as well as pragmatism and a proactive spirit. 
 
In conclusion, let me tell all our dear and concerned friends here tonight that I am confident the world of tomorrow across the Strait will witness a better situation where peace will replace wars, competition will replace confrontation, and more importantly, cooperation will replace conflict. The peaceful development will provide an opportunity for growth and stability for the Chinese nation.  
 
Thank you.
 

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