Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations


DE RUEHIN #0735/01 1500921
R 290921Z MAY 08




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused May 29
news coverage on the historic meeting between KMT Chairman Wu
Poh-hsiung and his Chinese Communist Party (CCP) counterpart Hu
Jintao in Beijing Wednesday; on new developments in cross-Strait
relations; and on the fuel price hike in Taiwan, to be followed by
increases in various commodity prices. The centrist, KMT-leaning
"China Times" ran a banner headline on page three that said "Hu
[Jintao] Pledges: There Should Be Viable Ways for Taiwan to
Participate in the World Health Organization."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" criticized the Wu-Hu meeting and
said President Ma Ying-jeou's cross-Strait policies are actually
pushing the Taiwan people toward ultimate unification with China. A
separate "Liberty Times" analysis said Beijing's policies regarding
direct transportation across the Taiwan Strait and allowing Chinese
tourists to Taiwan are merely economic bait - its ultimate objective
is to annex Taiwan. An op-ed piece in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" criticized President Ma's inaugural
speech and said it offered little of substance to Taiwan. An
editorial in the pro-unification "United Daily News," on the other
hand, urged Beijing to "face the reality" of the existence of the
Republic of China while interacting with Taiwan on the basis of the
"1992 Consensus." End summary.

A) "Ma Administration's Policies Are Pushing the Taiwan People
toward the Road of Unification [with China]"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 700,000]
editorialized (5/29):

"... The negotiation platform set up by the KMT and the Chinese
Communist Party is a welcome sign for the Taiwan people as long as
it can contribute to alleviating tension across the Taiwan Strait.
But the contact between the political parties of the two countries
should remain limited to the level of the private sector and must
not be defined, as claimed by President Ma, as the second-track [of
communication] between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, otherwise
it will go beyond the bounds of the role and competence of a
political party. Any formal talks between Taiwan and China must be
done on a country-to-country basis, with mutual recognition and
respect. If not, [we] would rather keep the platform idle than
allow ourselves to be belittled just for the sake of [resuming]
talks....Ma's actual practice has been paving the way for [the
island's] unification [with China] even though he claims that
unification between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait is unlikely
'within our lifetimes'. In other words, Ma may not be able to
witness [Taiwan's] unification [with China] within his lifetime, but
his policies and practice are actually pushing the Taiwan people
toward the road of unification. ..."

B) "KMT and CCP Both Hail the Chinese Nation [in an Attempt] to
Package the One China Principle"

Journalist Su Yong-yao noted in an analysis in the pro-independence
"Liberty Times" [circulation: 700,000] (5/29):

"During his current visit to China, Wu Poh-hsiung decried that 'both
sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to the Chinese nation.'
Similarly, during his meeting with Wu, Hu Jintao mentioned the
'persistence of safeguarding the fundamental interests of the
Chinese nation.' Both the KMT and Chinese Communist Party were
using the same rhetoric and it appeared that relations between the
two sides of the Taiwan Strait have been getting closer. In
reality, the basis of the Taiwan-centric awareness is being eroded.

"For Taipei, efforts to alleviate cross-Strait tension and to
facilitate social and economic exchange between the two sides are
aimed at expanding a foundation favorable for Taiwan's development.
This is the policy line of the KMT, even though it has yet to become
the internal consensus in Taiwan. Beijing is trying to rope in
Taiwan by inviting high-ranking [Taiwan] party and political
officials to visit China and even speaking softly to advocates of
Taiwan independence, but this is only to create a false appearance
of a peaceful and stable cross-Strait situation. Beijing's
short-term objective is to erase its negative image in the
international community caused by its crackdown on Tibet and the
Olympic torch relay. In the long run, Beijing's ultimate goal
remains to annex Taiwan, using direct transportation across the
Taiwan Strait and Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan as its economic
bait. ...

"In this vein, when Hu said he 'will discuss the issue of Taiwan's
participation in international activities,' it seemed evident that
the issue will be dealt with under the one China principle, wrapped
up with the fundamental interests of the Chinese nation. If the KMT
rejects such an offer, it will be akin to running counter to [Wu's
statement that] 'both sides of the Taiwan Strait belong to the

Chinese nation]; but should it accept the offer, Taiwan will no
longer enjoy its status as an independent sovereign nation. ..."

C) "Ma's Speech Offered Little of Substance to Taiwan"

Ruan Ming, a consultant at the Taiwan Research Institute, opined in
the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] (5/29):

"President Ma Ying-jeou's inaugural speech can be summed up in two
short phrases: Compromise outweighs conviction; emotion overrides
reason. Ma made satisfying China a priority in his speech, quoting
Chinese President Hu Jintao's three talks on cross-strait relations
on March 26, April 12 and April 29, then concluding that 'His views
are very much in line with our own.' And it came as no surprise
that the speech was quickly approved by China's Taiwan Affairs
Office, despite it lacking the conviction that the president of a
young democracy should deliver. Is Ma not aware that the terms
'controversies' and 'differences' in Hu's proposal to 'shelve
controversies' and 'find commonalities despite differences' also
imply that China is refusing to recognize Taiwan as an independent,
sovereign state?

"This is a Chinese trick to annex Taiwan through its United Front
scheme -- or maybe even military force. As a popularly elected
president, Ma should insist that Taiwan's independence and
sovereignty brook no violation, disavowal or delay. ... Ma's speech
raised a question mark. With compromise outweighing conviction and
emotion overriding reason, his proposal is, at best, a short-term
fix. After compromising with China and speaking emotionally to
Taiwanese, then what? Where is he leading Taiwan?"

D) "Wu-Hu Meeting: Enlightenment of Sun Yat-sen and Interpretation
of the 1992 Consensus"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (5/29):

"... In addition to the 'new developments' and 'new opportunities'
across the Taiwan Strait, as emphasized by both Wu Poh-hsiung and Hu
Jintao, we hope to see cross-Strait relations in the wake of the
Wu-Hu meeting advance in terms of 'macroscopic vision' and 'a basis
in reality.' In terms of macroscopic vision, it means that both
sides of the Taiwan Strait should develop and pursue a common
political philosophy, namely, the 'Sun Yat-sen structure.' The
basis in reality here refers to the idea that both sides of the
Taiwan Strait should have an interactive structure that can better
reflect the reality, namely, the '1992 Consensus.' ...

"... The '1992 Consensus' has become more and more stable as a
policy banner since the meeting between Lian Chan and Hu in 2005 and
the recent Wu-Hu meeting. But the essence of the '1992 Consensus' -
'one China with respective interpretations' - remains to be
embodied. Following the twists and turns over the past two decades,
the Beijing authorities must be aware that to stabilize cross-Strait
relations, they must first stabilize the 'Republic of China,' and
that without a stable 'Republic of China,' there will be no stable
cross-Strait relations. In this respect, Taipei emphasizes 'facing
up to the reality,' namely, facing up to the 'fact' that both sides
are ruled separately,' while Beijing stresses 'shelving
controversies' -- the 'controversies' remain, except that they are
put aside temporarily. Hu took the initiative in inviting Wu to
visit China, a move naturally indicating that he has acknowledged
Wu's status as the 'chairman of the ruling party of the Republic of
China (ROC),' but it is not equal to 'facing the reality' of the
[existence of] the ROC . ... [We] sincerely hope the authorities on
both sides of the Taiwan Strait will not just 'put aside
controversies' but will also 'face the reality squarely' on the
basis of the '1992 Consensus.' The two sides can in fact adopt
models similar to those between the previous West and East Germany
and South and North Korea to establish an interactive structure, and
they will surely achieve greater results than those between East and
West Germany and South and North Korea. ..."


© Scoop Media

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