On January 30, 1995, General Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and President of China Jiang Zemin delivered an important speech entitled "Continuing to Strive Toward the Reunification of China." In his speech Jiang Zemin put forward eight propositions on the development of relations between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits and the peaceful reunification of China on the current stage:
1. Adhering to the principle of one China is the basis and prerequisite for peaceful reunification. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity must never be allowed to suffer division. We must resolutely oppose any statement and action for creating "the independence of Taiwan"; and we must also resolutely oppose the propositions to "split the country and rule under separate regimes," "two Chinas over a certain period of time," etc., which are contrary to the principle of one China.
2. We do not have objections to the development of nongovernmental economic and cultural ties between Taiwan and other countries. According to the principle of one China and the characters of international organizations concerned, Taiwan has joined the Asian Development Bank, the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and other international economical organizations in the name of "Chinese Taibei." However, we oppose Taiwan's activities in "expanding its living space internationally," aimed at creating "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan." All patriotic compatriots in Taiwan and other people of insight understand that instead of solving problems, such activities can only help the forces working for the "independence of Taiwan," and undermine the progress of peaceful reunification. Only after peaceful reunification is accomplished can our Taiwan compatriots and other Chinese truly and fully share the international dignity and honor attained by our great motherland.
3. It has been our consistent stand to hold negotiations with Taiwan authorities on the peaceful reunification of the motherland. Representatives of all political parties and groups from both sides of the Taiwan Straits can be invited to participate in the negotiations for peaceful reunification. I said in my report at the 14th National Congress of the Communist Party of China held in October 1992, "On the premise that there is only one China, we are prepared to talk with the Taiwan authorities about any matter, including the form that official negotiations should take, a form that would be acceptable to both sides." By "on the premise that there is only one China, we are prepared to talk with the Taiwan authorities about any matter," we mean, naturally, that all matters of concern to the Taiwan authorities are included. We have proposed time and again that negotiations should be held on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides and accomplishing peaceful reunification step by step. Here again I solemnly propose that such negotiations be held. I suggest that, as a first step, negotiations should be held and an agreement reached on officially ending the state of hostility between the two sides under the principle that there is only one China. On this basis, the two sides may bear responsibilities together, maintain China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as plan the future development of the relations between the two sides separated by the strait. As regards the name, place and form of these political talks, a solution acceptable to both sides can certainly be found so long as consultations on an equal footing can be held at an early date.
4. We shall try our best to achieve the peaceful reunification of China since Chinese should not fight Chinese. We do not promise not to use force. If used, force will not be directed against our compatriots in Taiwan, but against the foreign forces who intervene in China's reunification and go in for "the independence of Taiwan." We are fully confident that our compatriots in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao and those residing overseas would understand our principled position.
5. Challenged with world economic development in the 21st century, we shall spare no effect to develop economic exchange and cooperation between the two sides separated by the Taiwan Straits so that both sides enjoy a flourishing economy and the whole Chinese nation benefits. We maintain that political disagreement should not impede economic cooperation between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits. We shall continue, for an extended period, to implement a policy of encouraging Taiwanese investment on the mainland and carry out the Law of the People's Republic of China on Protecting Investments by Taiwan Compatriots. In any circumstances, we shall protect all legitimate rights and interests of Taiwanese investors in a down-to-earth way and continually encourage exchange and contacts across the Taiwan Straits which promote mutual understanding. Since the direct links for postal, air and shipping services and trade between the two sides are the objective requirements for their economic development and contacts in various fields, and since they are in the interests of the people on both sides, it is absolutely necessary to adopt practical measures to speed up the establishment of such direct links. Efforts should be made to promote negotiations on certain specific issues between the two sides. We are in favor of conducting this kind of negotiations on the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit and signing nongovernmental agreements on the protection of the rights and interests of industrialists and business people from Taiwan.
6. The splendid culture of 5,000 years created by the sons and daughters of all ethnic groups of China has become ties keeping the entire Chinese people close at heart and constitutes an important basis for the peaceful reunification of the motherland. People on both sides should jointly inherit and carry forward the fine traditions of the culture.
7. The 21 million Taiwan people, whether born there or in other provinces, are Chinese and our own flesh and blood. The lifestyles of our Taiwan compatriots and their desire to be masters of their own country should be fully respected. All their legitimate rights and interests must be protected. All relevant departments in our Party and government, including agencies stationed abroad, must improve their relations with our Taiwan compatriots, listen to their views and requests, show concern for and take care of their interests and do everything they can to help solve their problems. We hope that Taiwan Island enjoys social stability, economic growth and affluence. We also hope that all political parties in Taiwan will adopt a sensible, forward-looking and constructive attitude and promote the expansion of relations between the two sides. We welcome all political parties and personages from different walks of life in Taiwan exchange opinions with us on the relations between the two sides and on peaceful reunification. Their visits to the mainland are also welcome. All personages from various circles who have contributed to the reunification of China will go down in history for their deeds.
8. We welcome leaders of Taiwan to visit the mainland in their proper status. We also are ready to accept invitations to visit Taiwan. We may discuss state affairs or exchange opinions on certain issues first. Even a simple visit to the side will be useful. The affairs of Chinese people should be handled by us, something that does not take an international occasion to accomplish. People on both sides of the Taiwan Straits eagerly look forward to meeting each other and being able to freely exchange visits.
The above eight propositions fully embody the consistency and continuance of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government on the issue of Taiwan; they embody their determination and sincerity to develop the relations across the strait and promote the reunification of the motherland. These suggestions have been warmly welcomed by the Chinese people at home and abroad and aroused great attention from the international community. The historical course of reunifying the motherland is irreversible, and the continuously developing relation between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits is in accordance with the general trend and the will of the people. On July 1, 1997 the Chinese Government resumed the exercise of sovereignty over Hong Kong. When the Chinese Government resumes the exercise of sovereignty over Macao on December 20, 1999, the solution to the Taiwan question and the historical mission of realizing the reunification of China will emerge, for the Chinese people, as an even more outstandingly important issue than ever before. At that time the Chinese people on both sides of the Taiwan Straits should unite in common efforts toward the reunification of China.