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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0008
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0532/01 1071124
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 161124Z APR 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8704
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8171
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9407

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000532

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - NIDA EMMONS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
April 16 news coverage on Taiwan's expected deregulation of currency
exchange between the New Taiwan dollar and the Chinese yuan; on
speculation over possible personnel arrangements for the new Ma
Ying-jeou administration; on the aftermath of the Boao Forum for
Asia and possible developments in cross-Strait relations; and on a
tire-breaking incident involving an Eva Air MD-90 airplane in
Kaohsiung Tuesday. The pro-unification "United Daily News"
front-paged an exclusive news story, which said the semi-official
Hong Kong Trade Development Council is planning to establish an
office in Taiwan, a major breakthrough for Taiwan-Hong Kong
relations.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" continued to slash at vice
president-elect Vincent Siew's attendance at the Boao Forum for Asia
on Hainan Island (China) over the weekend. The article said Siew
has been hexed with the "one-China curse," which was an insult for
himself and for his country. A separate "Liberty Times" analysis
said president-elect Ma is likely to include the "1992 consensus and
one China with respective interpretations" in his inaugural speech,
as a strategic guideline for Ma to deal with relations among
Washington, Beijing and Taipei. End summary.

A) "Secrets That Cannot Be Told"

The "Free Talk" column in the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
[circulation: 720,000] (4/16):

"In the wake of the meeting between [vice president-elect] Vincent
Siew and [Chinese President] Hu Jintao at the Boao Forum, Ma's camp
has been trying to jack up the so-called ice-breaking consensus
[across the Taiwan Strait] and the 16-word statement [Siew delivered
to Hu]. In fact, however, if one looks more deeply into the matter,
one will see that it is actually the ghost of the 'one-China
principle' that has been dictating everything behind the scenes.
Siew has been hexed with the 'one China curse,' and yet he appeared
to be quite pleased with himself. There is nothing more insulting
to oneself and one's country!

"Judging from the standards of China's treatment, the seating
arrangement at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum, the capacity
in which Siew was acting when Hu received him, and the conclusions
reached at the roundtable meetings, one could easily tell that the
'one-China principle,' by which Beijing sees Taiwan as part of
China, intangibly threaded together the entire forum. ... This
time, China 'upgraded' Siew to sit in the front row with other VIPs,
together with the first Chief Executives of Hong Kong and Macau
Special Administrative Regions. The 'one-China principle' was
visibly present without having to say it out loud. How many other
secrets are there that cannot be told?"

SIPDIS

B) "Consensus on the One-China with Respective Interpretations?
Ma's Remarks Remain to Be Tested"

Washington correspondent Nadia Tsao commented in an analysis in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000] (4/16):

"President-elect Ma Ying-jeou said in a recent press conference that
the United States, China and Taiwan's KMT have all accepted the
'1992 consensus and one China with respective interpretations.' It
remains to be seen whether Ma's remarks can stand up to a test. ...
White House National Security Council Asian Director Dennis Wilder
said during a briefing in August 2007 that 'the Republic of China is
an issue undecided, and it has been left undecided for many, many
years.' The KMT believed then that Wilder's statement foreshadowed
'one China with respective interpretations.' Given current
developments, Ma is very likely to follow Chen Shui-bian's example
in 2000, in which he announced the 'Four Nos and one Without'
pledge, and formally include the 1992 consensus and 'one China with
respective interpretations' in his inaugural speech, as a strategic
guideline for dealing with relations among Washington, Beijing and
Taipei. ...

"But so far, only the English text of a Xinhua News Agency [press
release] has included the '1992 consensus and one China with
respective interpretations.' Officials who have engaged with the
U.S. side have observed that Washington has yet to indicate its
interest in publicly endorsing Beijing's [position] on one China
with respective interpretations, as it is not sure whether Beijing's
policy will change overnight. Given that China's Ministry of
Commerce issued a press release prior to [vice president-elect]
Vincent Siew's departure from the Boao Forum, which mentioned the
'one-China principle,' one cannot help but wonder whether Beijing
really has reached a consensus on one China with respective
interpretations.

"For Taiwan's part, if Ma fails to reach a consensus with the Green
camp internally over the '1992 consensus and one China with

respective interpretations,' Taiwan will have a fragile base when it
comes to negotiating with others. The talks across the Taiwan
Strait are related to Taiwan's national status and security. For
example, whether Beijing will stop the United States from selling
weapons to Taiwan and thus reduce the security protection for the
island after tensions across the Taiwan Strait are alleviated is a
big question that the Green camp will have to ask of President Ma.
..."

YOUNG

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