1989 / 2月
Premier Yu's Remarks at a Dinner in Honor of the Bahamian Prime Minister
It is a pleasure for me to have the opportunity this evening to reciprocate your wonderful hospitality. Your generosity and hand of friendship have made our visit to the Bahamas an unforgettable experience.
Let this be a significant celebration of the new ties between our two nations and peoples. The joint communique on friendship and cooperation, which we signed yesterday, heralds the dawn of an era of unprecedented exchange between our two countries. And I give you this pledge: whether it be in the field of technological cooperation, exchanges in arts, education, sports or culture, we are a committed friend, devoted to the cause of strengthening our new relationship. You can count on us to honor this pledge from this time forward.
Mr. Prime Minister, the Chinese have an old saying that is lifted from our ancient folklore. It is: "shih wai tao yuan." It means "a paradise out of this world." It refers to a legendary group of Chinese settlers who went to a faraway corner of China to escape the cruelty of the time. Their new home was referred to as "shih wai tao yuan," a name which later became synonymous with paradise on earth.
I think that many Chinese feel the Bahamas is one such place. The beauty of these islands, and the easy-going nature of your people attest to this analogy.
Another impression we have of your country is that it represents one of the finest examples of tradition and modernity existing side-by-side in harmony. The Common-wealth of the Bahamas has indeed achieved astounding success in her transition from a colonial past to an independent, modern era.
I believe that this is one trait we have in common. On Taiwan, we have strived to preserve and enhance the traditional aspects of our five-thousand-year-old culture, while at the same time making a headlong rush toward fully developed status. In our present island society, one may also catch glimpses of the past, blending wonderfully with the present, and with great progress toward an even brighter future.
The Republic of China on Taiwan and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas share many other national, historical and geographical characteristics.
I recall that Christopher Columbus first landed in the outer island of San Salvador in 1492. Since then, the Bahamas has been a refuge for sea-faring pioneers. Taiwan had similar beginnings in its first contacts with the West. The Portuguese who first saw the island named her "Ilha Formosa," in honor of her untouched beauty. Taiwan, too, became a refuge over the centuries for mariners and seafaring traders alike.
Naturally, the Bahamas is world famous as a "sea, sun, and sand spot." And so true it is: I have never seen a more splendid blue sky, along with the equally blue waters that surround you. It happens that Taiwan's subtropical beauty is more rugged, with less emphasis on beaches and more on mountainous, though lush, terrain.
Most impressive to us, however, is your fondness for and ability to maintain the natural beauty of your island environment. Frankly, this is one area in which we can learn much from you. I must admit that in our rush toward industrialization, we have unfortunately neglected some aspects of environmental preservation and protection.
As for our development, perhaps the Bahamas may learn from our technological and industrial development. And please be certain of this: We stand ready, at any time, to pass on to you any aspects of the Taiwan experience in which we may be of assistance to you.
Like the Bahamas, the Republic of China on Taiwan is fast becoming an international financial power of its own right. One fact sums it up: In mid-1950's, our foreign reserves stood at a meager 300 million U.S. dollars. Indeed, our economic clout requires that we assume a more responsible role in the international economy, and this is something we are fully prepared to do.
I would like to end by telling you another Chinese saying: Our people sometimes would say that a "foreign moon shines brighter than the one at home." I believe in the West you say the "grass is always greener on the other side."
No matter how you say it, I strongly believe that I can speak for Chinese on Taiwan and everywhere when I say that we have much to learn from you about "greener grass." This, together with the other forms of cooperation and exchange between us, will pave a brilliant path of friendship between our two nations and peoples.
Note: the above are remarks given by Premier Yu Kuo-hwa at a dinner in honor of Sir Lynden Pindling.