A new approach to stabilizing the world situation
February 22, 1984
There are many disputes in the world, and we must find ways to solve them. Over the years I have been considering how those disputes could be solved by peaceful means, rather than by war. The plan we have proposed for reunifying the mainland with Taiwan is fair and reasonable. After reunification, Taiwan can go on practising capitalism while the mainland maintains socialism, all within the same unified China. One China, two systems. The same approach will be applied to the Hong Kong question -- one China, two systems. But Hong Kong is different from Taiwan in that it is a free port.
I think this is a sensible solution to many similar disputes in the world. If opposing sides are locked in stalemate, sooner or later they will come to conflict, even armed conflict. If war is to be averted, the only alternative is an approach like the one I have just mentioned, an approach the people will accept. It can help stabilize the situation, and for a long time too, and is harmful to neither side. Since you specialize in international issues, I hope you will have a better understanding of our proposal for the solution of the Hong Kong and Taiwan questions and make a study of it. Anyhow, we must find a way out of this impasse.
I have also considered the possibility of resolving certain territorial disputes by having the countries concerned jointly develop the disputed areas before discussing the question of sovereignty. New approaches should be sought to solve such problems according to realities.
I am just talking offhand about what has been on my mind. Is it possible to find new solutions for the many problems that cannot be solved by old ones? New problems should be solved by new means. Some of my remarks may not be precise or thoughtful enough. But we must rack our brains to find ways to stabilize the world situation. I have stated on many occasions that we Chinese are no less concerned about international peace and stability than are people in other countries. We need at least twenty years of peace to concentrate on our domestic development.
(Excerpt from a talk with a delegation from the Center for Strategic and International Studies of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C.)
(From Selected Works of Deng Xiaoping, Volume III <1982-1992>)