The Solemn Position of the Chinese Government on the Taiwan Question As Reiterated by President Jiang Zemin
At the request of President Clinton of the United States, President Jiang spoke with President Clinton over the phone on the evening of 18 July 1999.
President Clinton said that the reason why he wanted to speak to Jiang over the phone was that he would like to reiterate the US Government's firm commitment to the one-China policy. He stressed that the United States had not changed its policy toward Taiwan and he assured the Chinese side all the remarks that he had made remained unchanged.
President Jiang said that he and Clinton had discussed the issue many times. The two had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on the question exclusively during President Clinton's visit to China in 1998. At that time, Jiang repeatedly stressed that the Taiwan question was a vital issue on which the state sovereignty, territorial integrity, the great cause of peaceful reunification of China and the national feelings of the Chinese people all hinged. National reunification represented the firm resolve of the Chinese Government and the shared aspirations of the entire Chinese people, including Taiwan compatriots and overseas Chinese.
President Jiang pointed out that Lee Teng-hui went so far as to describe the relations across the Taiwan Straits as those between states. In doing so, Lee had taken a dangerous step forward along the road of splitting China, seriously provoked the universally recognized one-China principle and further exposed his true nature of dividing Chinese territory and sovereignty and separating Taiwan from the motherland. President Jiang stressed that there was but one China in the world and Taiwan was part of Chinese territory, that the territory and sovereignty of China was indivisible, and that China's basic policy towards the Taiwan question remained "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems". He told Clinton that China had all along encouraged personnel exchanges and economic ties between the two sides across the Straits, actively advocated the establishment of three direct links, namely direct exchange of mail, trade, air and shipping services, and worked to promote political talks between the two sides across the Straits. But China had never renounced the use of force on the Taiwan question. The reason was clear. Some elements on the Taiwan Island and elsewhere always tried to separate Taiwan from China. We in China would never sit idle should Taiwan go in for "independence" and foreign forces interfere in China's reunification.
President Jiang pointed out that the way in which the Chinese Government and people reacted to Lee Teng-hui's separatist remarks demonstrated the firm determination of the Chinese Government and people to oppose separatism and defend state sovereignty and territorial integrity. We had already warned the Taiwan authorities to rein in at the brink of the recipice and stop all separatist activities so as not to bring serious consequences to the cross-Straits relations and to the situation of the Taiwan Straits.
Jiang emphatically pointed out that anti-China forces in the United States were still very aggressive. They continued to support the separatist propositions for Taiwan independence even today and tried hard to bolster and pep up those elements for Taiwan independence on the Taiwan Island. History proved that how to handle the Taiwan question would directly hamper the development of China-US relations. Jiang expressed his hope that the United States would truly abide by the three joint communiques between the two countries and observe the three-nos that President Clinton reiterated in the public during his 1998 visit to China and the White House repeated lately. The three-nos were that the US would not support Taiwan independence, "two Chinas", "one China, one Taiwan", or Taiwan's membership in any international organization of which statehood is a requirement. This was vital to the continued stability in the Taiwan Straits and to the recovery and improvement of China-US relations.
Clinton affirmed that China-US relations were very important and could brook no damage. He would work hard to ensure their improvement at an earlier date.
President Jiang told Clinton that the Chinese Government had all along attached great importance to the development of these relations and hoped that the US side would properly handle the problems facing the bilateral relations in the strategic and long-term perspective.