Remarks Delivered at AIT Press Conference
(as prepared for delivery)
My visit to Taiwan has been very productive and busy. I had three goals in mind when I came on this trip. First, to meet and get acquainted with the staff and facilities of the American Institute in Taiwan -- in both Taipei and Kaohsiung. Second, to exchange views with a wide range of government and other leaders in Taiwan. Of course, at the same time, I was happy to renew acquaintances from the past, meet with old friends, and witness the remarkable changes that have taken place in Taipei since I was last here eight years ago. As this portion of my visit draws to a close - I depart for Kaohsiung this evening - I can say that I am pleased with what I have accomplished so far.
I very much appreciate the many contributions made by AIT Taipei Director Darryl Johnson. Under his strong and effective leadership, my colleagues in Taipei and Kaohsiung have increased understanding between Taiwan and the United States, and helped to strengthen our strong economic relationship. I look forward to working with them in the future.
My schedule in Taipei has been very busy. This morning I met with President Lee, and today and earlier this week I had conversations with Vice President Lien Chan, Premier Vincent Siew, LY President Liu Sung-fan, Foreign Minister Jason Hu, Defense Minister Chiang Chung-ling, Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Chih-kang, CEPD Chairman P.K. Chiang, Mainland Affairs Council Chairman Chang King-yuh, Mayor Chen Shui-bian, and TECRO Chairman Ambassador Liu Ta-jen. My meetings with each were cordial and open.
In addition, I exchanged views with leaders of the KMT, the New Party, and the DPP. I am pleased to see that Taiwan's multi-party democracy is flourishing. These meetings gave me the opportunity to learn about Taiwan's economic and political scene from different points of view.
At each of the meetings I repeated the message I brought directly from Washington -- a message developed in the wake of the summit meeting between President Clinton and PRC President Jiang Zemin last week. That is: the U.S. policy towards Taiwan remains unchanged. The Clinton Administration continues to believe that the Taiwan Relations Act and the three joint communiques provide a solid framework for U.S. policy. On the basis of this framework, AIT will continue to promote deep and broad-ranging ties between the people of the United States and the people on Taiwan.
There is a corollary message here. Improved relations between the United States and the PRC will enhance prospects for continued peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. This regional peace and stability is good for Taiwan as well.
As President Clinton has said, we hope that the PRC and Taiwan will renew cross-straits talks as soon as possible. This message is, however, one of encouragement, rather than pressure. The United States values its friendship with Taiwan. We trust that Taiwan can work out its differences with the PRC in a manner that will benefit both sides of the Straits. We expect that differences will be resolved by peaceful means.
I am delighted to be back in Taiwan, if only for a short visit. The dramatic economic and political changes here continue to make a deep impression on me. These changes have transformed Taiwan society over the past 25 years, and constitute one of the most fascinating examples of political development in recent times. This transformation was brought about, on the one hand, by enlightened decisions from the ruling party -- and, on the other, by pressure from the opposition. That, in fact, is what democracy is about.
Another essential feature of a healthy democracy is a free and responsible press. With that in mind, I'll take your questions. Thank you.