Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen
said in Beijing on March 3 that the return of Hong Kong will
exert a major influence on relations across the Taiwan
During a discussion in Beijing with
Taiwan deputies to the National People's Congress, Qian said
that the issue of Taiwan's peaceful reunification with the
motherland will become more prominent after Hong Kong, and
then Macao, return to the embrace of the motherland.
The Chinese government will unswervingly
adhere to the principles of "one country, two
systems" and peaceful reunification in pushing ahead
with the cause of reunification of the motherland, he said.
He noted that Hong Kong and Taiwan have close
ties in exchange of visits, economic cooperation and trade,
and cultural exchanges, and many Taiwan compatriots come
back to the mainland of the motherland for tourism, visit of
relatives, investment, and trade via Hong Kong.
"Therefore, the return of Hong Kong to
the motherland will surely exert a great influence on the
relations between two sides of the Strait," he said.
After China resumes the exercise of its
sovereignty over Hong Kong, he added, the central government
will stick to the principles of "one country, two
systems" and "Hong Kong people governing Hong
Kong" and "high degree of autonomy."
"Following its return, Hong Kong will
retain its social system and lifestyle, and maintain its
role as an international center of finance, trade and
transportation, thus ensuring a long-term prosperity and
stability," he said.
During the past ten
years, he said, great changes have taken place in relations
across the Straits, with a total of more than 10 million
people from Taiwan visiting the mainland.
1996 alone, 1.72 million Taiwan compatriots visited the
mainland, he noted.
"Since the past
decade has witnessed such magnificent changes, we have every
reason to believe that the next decade will bear witness to
even greater progress," Qian predicted.
Speaking of the issue of "international
living space," he said that Taiwan enjoys a vast space
for non-governmental exchanges in economy, trade, and
culture, since it has joined in many non-governmental
international organizations, and scored a fairly large
non-governmental trade volume.
said, "it won't be permitted if Taiwan attempts to
separate from the motherland as an independent sovereign
state by seeking diplomatic living space."
He expressed the conviction that with China's
ever growing economic strength, rising international status,
and with expanding exchanges between the Strait, the great
cause of peaceful reunification of the motherland will
surely be accomplished.
Qian also listened
carefully to discussions and suggestions of the Taiwan
deputies by origin, which covered a wide range of topics.