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Cablegate: April 16 Tao Press Briefing: Hu-Siew Meeting, Direct

VZCZCXRO9396
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #1450/01 1071003
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 161003Z APR 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6577
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 001450

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ETRD ECON KOLY CH TW
SUBJECT: APRIL 16 TAO PRESS BRIEFING: HU-SIEW MEETING, DIRECT
FLIGHTS, CROSS-STRAIT TOURISM, 1992 CONSENSUS, POSSIBLE CROSS-STRAIT
VISITS, TIBET, PERSONNEL, MORE

Summary
-------

1. Key points at the April 16 Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) press
briefings were:

-- The April 12 Hu-Siew meeting has "very important significance"
for the improvement of cross-Strait relations under "new
circumstances" (xin xingshi) and the promotion of cross-Strait
economic cooperation.

-- President Hu said that "an important, historical opportunity" has
emerged in cross-Strait relations and in these "new circumstances,"
regular direct and charter flights across the Strait will begin as
soon as possible.

-- China advocates a return to "relevant cross-Strait negotiations"
based on the 1992 Consensus.

-- Li had no information regarding the identity of the new head of
the Mainland's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait
(ARATS), nor did Li have any news on "further arrangements" for a
possible visit from the chairman-designate of Taiwan's Straits
Exchange Foundation (SEF), P.K. Chiang.

-- While there is no "difference" in the territorial sovereignty
aspect of China's stance on the Tibet and Taiwan issues, the issues
stem from different historical causes and realities and thus require
different handling, said Li. End Summary.

Hu-Siew Meeting, cross-Strait Tourism, Direct Flights
--------------------------------------------- --------

2. At the April 16 regular Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) press
briefing, TAO spokesman Li Weiyi stated that President Hu Jintao's
April 12 meeting with Taiwan VP-elect Vincent Siew bears "very
important significance" for the improvement of cross-Strait
relations under "new circumstances" (xin xingshi) and the promotion
of cross-Strait economic cooperation. Li pointed out that domestic
and foreign reactions to the meeting were positive, and the meeting
received a "high degree of affirmation" from "all circles of
Taiwan."

3. During the meeting, President Hu said that "an important,
historical opportunity" has emerged in cross-Strait relations and
cross-Strait economic development and that the two sides will "work
hard together, create conditions (chuangzao tiaojian) and actively
push forward," said Li when asked for comment on Ma Ying-jeou's
assertion that regular weekend charter flights between the Mainland
and Taiwan would begin July 4. Li told reporters that Hu's
statement "pertains to cross-Strait charter and direct flights." As
long as the two sides work hard together on this issue, the TAO
believes that in the "new state of affairs" regular direct and
charter flights across the Strait will be begin as soon as possible.


4. Li repeated the above statements referring to the Hu-Siew
meeting when asked if the ARATS and the SEF will carry out
negotiations on charter flights and cross-Strait tourism, adding
that the "corresponding groundwork" and "conditions" have been
"already completed." A reporter asked if this answer meant that
after May 20 (the date of Ma Ying-jeou's inauguration as President
of Taiwan) the "groundwork" would be "completed." Li avoided
answering the question.

Can Discuss Anything on Basis of 1992 Consensus
--------------------------------------------- --

5. In a return to cross-Strait negotiations on equal footing on the
basis of the 1992 Consensus, any topic can be discussed, said Li
when asked if the two sides could possibly discuss political issues
in addition to economic ones. Asked if the Mainland's
interpretation (biaoshu) of the 1992 Consensus had changed since
last year, Li stated that the Mainland's position is "very clear: We
advocate a return to relevant cross-Strait negotiations on the basis
of the 1992 Consensus."

New ARATS, SEF Chiefs, DPP officials to Visit Mainland?
--------------------------------------------- ---------

6. Li had no information regarding the identity of the new head of
the Mainland's ARATS. Li did not have any news on "further
arrangements" for a possible visit from SEF chairman-designate P.K.
Chiang, when asked if Chiang might meet with TAO Director Chen
Yunlin during a visit to the Mainland. China welcomes the "vast
majority" of DPP members to visit the Mainland under the
"appropriate titles," said Li when asked if China would allow visits
from DPP county- and municipal-level mayors. Li added that many DPP
members have already visited the Mainland.

Different Treatment of Tibet and Taiwan Issues?

BEIJING 00001450 002 OF 002


--------------------------------------------- --

7. Responding to a Voice of America reporter's question regarding
the different "attitudes" toward Tibet and Taiwan, both of which are
called "inseparable parts" of Chinese territory, the spokesman said
he did not understand the her use of the term "different attitudes."
There is no "difference" in China's clear stance on protecting the
completeness of China's territorial sovereignty, Li stated.
However, the problems of these two places stem from different
historical causes and realities, thus requiring that they be handled
differently, he added.

Olympics, Ministry of Justice Exam, Pandas, Personnel, Economic
Cooperation, Mainland Investment in Taiwan
--------------------------------------------- --------

8. The spokesman also took questions on the ability of Taiwan
athletes and fans to attend the Beijing Olympic Games, the
possibility of changing the names of two Pandas identified as
pending gifts to Taiwan (their names, put together, mean
"reunification"), prospects for the further development of
cross-Strait economic cooperation and Mainland investment in Taiwan.
Ding Li of the Ministry of Justice introduced preparations for
opening Ministry of Justice examinations to Taiwan lawyers and other
residents. Li had no news to offer when asked about Taiwan media
reports that Minister of Commerce Chen Deming and Yang Hui of the
PLA General Staff Headquarters have joined the CCP Central Committee
Leading Group on Taiwan Affairs.

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