Statement by President Nelson Mandela on South Africa's relations with the Greater China region
27 November 1996
The guiding principle in South Africa's position towards the Greater China region has always been that South Africa wishes to have cordial relations with both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China on Taiwan. This principle has been based on the strong economic relations that South Africa maintains with both the People's Republic of China and with Taiwan. This principle will continue to guide South Africa's relations with the Greater China region.
On assumption of office, we stated that we have inherited a situation with South Africa recognising the Republic of China on Taiwan, but that these relations could not be abandoned overnight. I, and the South African Government, have enormous appreciation for the contribution that the Government of the Republic of China has made tr the commitment of the Governme sector in the economic developmh Africa. The Republic of China, further, made a generous and much appreciated contribution to South Africa's transition to democracy and I would like to pay speciute to Ambassador I-Cheng for his personal endeavours in this regard.
In its international relations, South Africa has become an active participant within the ambit of the OAU and the Non-Aligned Movement, as well as within the UN system. A permanent continuation of diplomatic recognition of the Republic of China on Taiwan is inconsistent with South Africa's role in international affairs.
I had the opportunity to meet with the representatives of the Republic of China and the People's Republic of China yesterday. I expressed the hope that within the next twelve months it would be possible to achieve a smooth transition, acceptable to both the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of China on Taiwan, in terms of which South Africa recognises the People's Republic of China, but continues to conduct constructive relations with Taiwan.
Statement issued by the Office of the President, 27 November 1996