Speech by Vice Premier Qian Qichen at the Forum to Commemorate the Seventh Anniversary of President Jiang Zemin's Important Speech entitled "Continuing to endeavour for the accomplishment of the grand cause of reunification of the motherland"(24/01/ 2002)
2004/04/08



Comrades,
Friends,

On 30 January 1995, President Jiang Zemin made an important speech entitled "Continuing to endeavour for the accomplishment of the grand cause of reunification of the motherland". Today, it is highly meaningful for us to review the speech at this forum while looking back on the development of cross-straits relations in the past year and looking ahead on the prospects of the peaceful reunification of the motherland.

In the past year, thanks to the joint efforts by the compatriots on the both sides, there has been a new upsurge and fresh progress in the economic, trade, cultural and personnel exchanges and cooperation across the straits. In the meantime, noteworthy changes have taken place in the situation of the Taiwan Island. The basic configuration and development trends of cross-straits relations have, on the whole, remained unchanged. The international community has universally recognized that the basic framework of One China is solid, and the separatist activities by the Taiwan authorities have suffered repeated setbacks. The pursuit of peace, stability and development is the mainstream public opinion in Taiwan. As the mainland continues to enjoy economic growth, political stability, social tranquility and steadily rising international stature, the whole country is beaming with vigor and vitality. More and more Taiwan compatriots have come to realize that reunification will serve both whereas separation will benefit neither. Confrontation will do no good and any pro-independence move is doomed to failure. We are full of confidence in the development of cross-straits relations and the prospects of peaceful reunification of the motherland.

In the new year, to remove the obstacles in the cross-straits ties, maintain peace in the straits, promote personnel exchanges and economic, cultural and other interactions, realize the direct links of mail, trade, and air and shipping services, and facilitate a steady development of cross-straits relations remain the common task for the Chinese on both sides of the Taiwan straits. We will persist in the basic policy of "Peaceful Reunification and One Country, Two Systems", implement in a comprehensive way the Eight-Point Proposition put forward by President Jiang Zemin on the development of cross-straits relations in the current period and the advancement of the process of peaceful reunification of the motherland, and take active measures to move the cross-straits relations forward in the direction of peaceful reunification.

Both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. Despite the absence of reunification at present, the two sides should work hard to create conditions for it by reducing contentions, improving cross-straits relations and breaking the political deadlock. In 1992, ARATS and SEF reached agreement on each in its own way making an oral statement that "both sides uphold the One-China principle", which gave expression to the political wisdom that properly addresses differences and effectively breaks deadlocks. The importance of the 1992 consensus lies in the fact that, under the prerequisite of adhering to the One China principle, both sides seek common ground while reserving differences in a flexible way and take the interests of both sides into consideration with a view to building mutual trust, negotiating matters in a practical manner and always looking towards the future. Such a hard-won achievement, given its vital relevance to the current cross-straits relations, must be upheld. President Jiang Zemin stressed that "on the premise that there is only one China, we are prepared to talk with the Taiwan authorities about any matter, including all matters of concern to the Taiwan authorities". We have the utmost sincerity and maximum tolerance toward the resumption of cross-straits dialogue and negotiations. The rejection of the One-China principle and the 1992 consensus by the leaders of the Taiwan authorities constitutes both the crux of the deadlocked cross-straits relations and the root cause for the lack of stability and even possible crisis in the straits. We have said on many occasions that there is but one China in the world, both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China and the sovereignty and territorial integrity of China are indivisible. This is the common ground for both sides to adhere to the One-China principle. It is hoped that the leaders of the Taiwan authorities will display courage, face reality and take earnest, positive and concrete steps on the question of recognizing the 1992 consensus in the interest of a stable and prosperous Taiwan society. The resumption of dialogue and negotiations on such basis serves the stability and development of cross-straits relations, which not only is in line with the interests and aspirations of the compatriots on both sides of the straits, but also contributes to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

Both sides of the Taiwan straits have joined the WTO in tandem, which is a major event to the two sides and a new opportunity for furthering economic ties and trade across the straits. While economic globalization continues to deepen and trends of regional economic cooperation become more pronounced, both sides are faced with enormous development opportunities as well as considerable challenges. In light of these common opportunities and challenges, there is every reason for compatriots on both sides to share weal and woe and come to each other's aid. Since last year, our Taiwan compatriots have suffered under the double blow of economic recession and natural disasters. Their fate touches us too. We wish to see social stability and economic prosperity in Taiwan, and people there living happily and working in contentment. To further develop the economic relations between the two sides is to keep with the objective trends of the times, meet the aspirations of all the compatriots and serve the interests of both sides. We hold that political differences should not be used to disrupt the economic ties and trade. The artificial barriers erected to restrict cross-straits economic cooperation should be dismantled as soon as possible. The question of cross-straits trade and economic relations should be resolved between the two sides, which is entirely possible. The opening of the "three direct links" must take place without further delay. An early launch of direct air and shipping services is so much longed for by our compatriots in Taiwan, particularly those in the business community. At current stage, trade associations in the private sectors of the two sides may discuss this question and reach an agreement to activate such a link as soon as possible. In order to bring the cross-straits economic relations to a new high, we are ready to hear the views and suggestions by the representatives of various communities in Taiwan on ways to establish economic cooperation mechanisms and build closer economic ties across the straits.

Compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan straits are limbs of the same ancestry. The brilliant culture created by the sons and daughters of the Chinese nation over 5,000 years has always been the spiritual bond for all the Chinese. By jointly inheriting and carrying forward the fine traditions, our compatriots on both sides of the straits will give new luster to the Chinese culture in the new age. The youth are the future of our nation. Young people on both sides should reach out for more contacts and closer understanding. More young people from Taiwan are welcome to the mainland to pursue their studies, advance their careers and give full play to their talents.

Our Taiwan compatriots have fought long and hard battles in order to shake off the colonialist shackles, resist repressive autocratic rule and realize the desire to be masters of their own house. We fully understand the complicated psychology they have formed against the peculiar historical backdrop and fully respect their aspirations and demands. Their desire to be masters of their own house is fundamentally different from the "Taiwan independence" scheme by a handful of people. Using "localization" as their banner, the separatist forces in Taiwan have instigated conflicts among people of different provincial origins, fanned social strife and conducted separatist activities, leading to division, confrontation and instability in Taiwan society. Our compatriots in Taiwan must heighten their vigilance against this. We sincerely hope that all our Taiwan compatriots, irrespective of their provincial origins or current residential areas, will live in harmony with one another and seek common development.

In his eight-point proposition, President Jiang Zemin emphasized that "we hope that parties in Taiwan will promote the development of cross-straits relations with a rational, forward-looking and constructive attitude" and that "personages from all parties and walks of life in Taiwan are welcome to exchange views with us on cross-straits relations and peaceful reunification and to come to visit the mainland". Despite changes in Taiwan's political situation in recent years, this basic policy remains unchanged. We will, as always, strengthen contacts and dialogue with different parties and people from various walks of life in Taiwan who uphold the "One China" principle and stand for closer ties across the straits. Such exchanges and dialogue are aimed at increasing mutual understanding between the compatriots across the straits. They are conducive to fostering a relaxed atmosphere for cross-straits relations, serve a stable situation in the Taiwan straits and henceforth contribute to the interest of our Taiwan compatriots. Conversely, clinging to a parochial, rigid and confrontational mindset, restricting contacts and rejecting dialogue will only add to the antagonism and tension in the straits, leaving the Taiwan compatriots nothing to gain but everything to lose. The DPP needs to have the well-being of the Taiwan people more at heart, completely abandon its pro-independence party platform and show sincerity for the development of cross-straits relations. We believe there is a distinction between the broad masses of the DPP members and a handful of pro-independence diehards. We welcome them to tour and visit the mainland in appropriate capacities to increase mutual understanding.

We have always been highly vigilant against the pro-independence activities by the separatist forces in Taiwan. Such activities are extremely unpopular. The Chinese culture is the parent and core of the Taiwanese culture. But the pro-independence forces are trying to poison the intellectual, cultural and educational realms on the island by separating the Taiwanese culture from the Chinese culture and even setting them against each other, in an attempt to obliterate Taiwan compatriots' national identity as Chinese. Our Taiwan compatriots are sharp-eyed about all sorts of incremental tactics of the separatists aimed at pushing Taiwan toward independence and so are we. The perverse acts of the separatist forces are firmly opposed by all the Chinese living on the two sides of the Taiwan straits and elsewhere in the world.

By lavishing on the procurement of advanced military hardware, the Taiwan authorities are trying to back up its separatist attempt with military support from outside forces. Instead of making Taiwan any more secure, such acts will further aggravate tensions in the straits and ultimately undermine the fundamental interests of the Taiwan compatriots.

We have succeeded in settling the Hong Kong and Macao questions in keeping with the basic policy of "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems", and will settle the Taiwan question in accordance with the same policy. We fully appreciate the different circumstances between Taiwan on the one hand and Hong Kong and Macao on the other, and will put in place more flexible policies within the framework of "one country, two systems". After the reunification, not only will the existing rights and interests enjoyed by the Taiwan compatriots be effectively respected and protected, many other rights and interests that they have always wanted to enjoy will also be adequately realized. When peaceful reunification is achieved and "one country, two systems" becomes a reality, there will be lasting peace for everyone to enjoy since the devastating war imposed by the separatists will be averted. Taiwan compatriots will truly make their long-cherished dream come true when they become masters of their own house, enjoying a high degree of autonomy and fully exercising the right to choose their social system and way of life. The history of Taiwan being exploited and colonized will not be repeated and autocratic regimes in violation of the will of the Taiwan people will never recur. With the mainland truly as its hinterland, Taiwan's economy will enjoy an enormous space for development, making it possible for its structural optimization and long-term prosperity. The vast number of Taiwan compatriots will have broader and more direct access to the running of state affairs and contribute to the country's development in peace. The Taiwan compatriots will join their brothers and sisters on the mainland in sharing the pride and glory our great motherland enjoys on the world stage. To this end, we are ready to hear and fully respect the views of our Taiwan compatriots.

There is but one China in the world. This is a fact that is universally recognized by the international community. More and more countries have rendered understanding and support to the cause of the Chinese Government and all the Chinese people for safeguarding state sovereignty and territorial integrity and vigorously advancing China's peaceful reunification. This is the trend of the times. The attempts by the Taiwan separatist forces to create "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" on the world stage will get nowhere. We are firmly against sales of advanced weapons to Taiwan by foreign countries and against any foreign interference aimed at obstructing China's peaceful reunification under whatever pretexts.

Realizing the reunification of the motherland is the unshakable resolve of the Chinese people and a sacred historic mission on our shoulders. Working hand in hand, the compatriots on the two sides of the straits will definitely realize the complete reunification of the motherland and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation at an early date. A unified and strong China will fill all Chinese living on both sides of the straits with pride to be a worthy member of the world community of nations, while making even greater contribution to world peace and development.

As the Spring Festival, China's traditional red-letter day, is quickly approaching, I wish to take this opportunity to extend my sincere festive greetings to the Taiwan compatriots and all the friends who are dedicated to developing cross-straits relations and supporting reunification of the motherland. May you enjoy a joyous Spring Festival and happiness for your family.

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