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Fri, May 19, 2000 - Page 3 News List

Taiwan's values will help it stand firm, says Chen

By Irene Lin  /  STAFF REPORTER

Facing an increasingly belligerent China, President-elect Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday countered the idea that "big China" could easily crush "small Taiwan," saying the country possesses valuable assets that would allow it to stand firm in the face of strained cross-strait relations.

In the final countdown to his inauguration tomorrow, Chen has seized every opportunity to speak on cross-strait relations, seen as the most thorny issue for the new president given the DPP's pro-independence leanings.

Following a visit yesterday to former defense minister and senior presidential adviser Chiang Chung-ling (蔣仲苓), Chen spoke to reporters at length on cross-strait issues.

"The concept of the `global village' is what we need to embrace in dealing with cross-strait issues. Therefore, as big as China is, it also has to be reasonable," Chen said.

"Similarly, Taiwan might be small in size, but it cannot be underestimated as it manifests truths that are universally valued," Chen said.

"We want to talk reasonably with China, and we hope this idea will become a concerted goal for the people of Taiwan and China, as well as for Taiwan's and China's governments," Chen said.

In the face of constant intimidation from China throughout the presidential campaign and since his victory, Chen has often cited Taiwan's achievements in promoting democracy, freedom and human rights in seeking understanding and support from the international community.

As his predecessors have done in the past, Chen again called attention yesterday to these universal values, hoping to highlight a distinction between communist China and democratic Taiwan.

Chen cited human respect as being the first among five "gospels" to be upheld in Taiwan. His own "middle-way" approach, which would avoid any ideological extremities, would be the second gospel, Chen said.

The president-elect also referred to a belief in gradual, step-by-step reform and ruling with wisdom and charity as two other elements of what he called "Taiwan's valuable assets."

Finally, Chen pointed out that democracy, freedom, and human rights -- principles shared by most democracies -- have also become an integral part of Taiwan's democratic government.

Chiang said after his meeting with Chen he believed China could be reasonable and would not use force without careful consideration.

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