Taiwan President Warns China
Jul. 28, 1999
TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) _ After sparking a feud with Beijing, Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui said today he was not trying to make trouble, but rather wanted to help foster peace and prosperity.
Lee said he used the word ``special'' to describe Taiwan's separate statehood in order to stress the fact that people in Taiwan and China are all Chinese and ``have special feelings towards each other.''
``We can better understand one another and there should be better mutual respect'' to avoid conflicts, Lee said.
While talking peace, Lee also warned China against imposing a blockade of the island or taking military action because of his statehood claim.
``Peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait are the common property of the international community, and are of great concerns to all,'' he said at an academic meeting in Taipei
After setting off an uproar on July 9 by saying that China and Taiwan, which split amid civil war in 1949, should treat each other on a ``state-to-state'' basis, Lee has tried to pacify China, saying he made the claim so Taiwan will be treated as Beijing's equal in future talks about reunification.
But China took the claim as a step toward a formal Taiwanese declaration of independence, and repeated its threat that it could use force to take over the island when necessary.