Calling for "an end to ideological confrontation" with China, Taiwan's President Lee Teng-hui returned to Cornell University 27 years after he earned a doctorate in economics. In a speech before 5,000 alumni, Lee said the China could learn from his country's progress on human rights issues, and gave a plea for greater international recognition of his country. Although the president had tried to portray the trip as simply an alumni visit, TIME New York correspondent Jenifer Mattos reports that his speech was "much more political than anyone expected." Lee's visit marks the first time a Taiwanese president has visited the U.S. since the Nationalist government moved to Taiwan after the 1949 Communist takeover of mainland China. The U.S. does not officially recognize Taiwan. To avoid angering China, which regards Taiwan as Chinese territory, the White House had refused to allow Lee to enter the country until a congressional resolution forced Clinton to do so.