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Cablegate: 10/29 Tao Press Briefing: Chen Yunlin Visit, Zhang Mingqing

VZCZCXRO7799
OO RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHBJ #4089/01 3030931
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 290931Z OCT 08
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 0671
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 BEIJING 004089

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL ETRD ECON CH TW
SUBJECT: 10/29 TAO PRESS BRIEFING: CHEN YUNLIN VISIT, ZHANG MINGQING
INCIDENT

Summary
-------

1. Key points from the October 29 Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) press
briefing:

-- The Spokesman said that during Association for Relations Across
the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) President Chen Yunlin's November 3-7 trip
to Taiwan the two sides will implement agreements on maritime
shipping, cargo charter flights, daily charter flights, a new direct
air corridor, direct mail, and food safety.

-- The spokesperson did not comment specifically on Chen's
itinerary, saying instead that many details are being worked out.
He stated that "because of a tight schedule" Chen will not travel to
central or southern Taiwan.

-- The spokesperson expressed confidence that Chen's visit would be
"safe and smooth" and that security preparations on the Taiwan side
are adequate.

-- The spokesperson said that ARATS Deputy Zhang Mingqing is "under
observation and treatment" after being attacked by "a small number
of extremists" in Tainan on October 21. He said that "most people
in Taiwan" had condemned the assault, which demonstrates that the
assailants do not represent the Taiwan people.

Chen Yunlin's Visit to Taiwan
-----------------------------

2. At the regular Taiwan Affairs Office (TAO) press briefing October
29, most of the questions related to ARATS President Chen Yunlin's
November 3-7 visit to Taiwan. Spokesman Yang Yi noted that the main
purpose of the trip is to implement agreements on maritime shipping,
cargo charter flights, daily charter flights, a new direct air
corridor, direct mail, and food safety. This series of agreements
will benefit people on both sides of the Taiwan Strait by
strengthening economic cooperation, reducing costs and increasing
convenience for cross-Strait shippers and travelers. Yang noted
that Chen will lead a delegation of 60 people, to include experts to
discuss the international financial crisis. Yang did not answer
specific questions about Chen's itinerary, exchanges of gifts,
meetings with Taiwan leaders or whether Chen will hold a press
conference. Asked about the issue of flags and titles used by
Taiwan leaders, Yang said that the two sides have worked out
"mutually acceptable" arrangements on the matter.

3. Responding to questions on whether ARATS and its counterpart in
Taiwan, the Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF), will discuss
political issues and whether there is a timetable for a "peace
agreement," Yang said that China will follow the principles of
"first easy, then hard, first economics, then politics, and progress
step by step" to resolve cross-Strait issues. As for political
issues and problems "left over from history," the PRC hopes that
"through joint efforts the two sides can create the conditions to
gradually resolve the issues through consultations." China has a
very positive attitude toward this, Yang said. The two sides should
decide through consultations when political talks should start.

Security for the Visit
----------------------

4. A Taiwan reporter asked if the 7,000 police assigned to the visit
will be sufficient for Chen's personal security and whether he would
bring his own bodyguards. The spokesman expressed his hope that the
trip will be "safe and smooth" and said that security arrangements
will be consistent with those established when SEF Chairman P.K.
Chiang visited the Mainland. When asked how the Mainland would
react if Chen encountered a violent incident, he reiterated the
"safe and smooth" point.

Zhang Mingqing Incident
-----------------------

5. The spokesman commented that ARATS Deputy Zhang Mingqing is still
"undergoing evaluation and treatment" following the "violent attack"
in Tainan on October 21 by a "small number of extremists." China
"sharply condemns" this incident and calls on Taiwan to punish the
perpetrators and protect regular exchanges across the Taiwan Strait.
Yang commented that "most people in Taiwan have condemned the
incident," which shows that the attackers do not represent the
Taiwan people. In response to a Taiwan reporter's question about
the TAO's reaction to allegations that Mainland-linked mobsters had
kidnapped and threatened Tainan DPP councilman Wang Ting-yu, who had
been involved in the assault on Zhang, the TAO spokesman angrily
denounced the story as "a lie that is inconsistent and full of
holes."

APEC
----

6. Asked about the selection of former Foreign Minister and former

BEIJING 00004089 002 OF 002


Control Yuan President Frederick Chien to represent Taiwan at the
APEC summit in Peru in late November, the spokesman said he had
nothing to release on the topic. He said that in reacting to this
development, the PRC would "follow the precedent of previous APEC
summits while taking into consideration positive changes in
cross-Strait relations."

Other Issues
------------

7. Other issues discussed:

--Kaohsiung Mayor: Asked about whether Kaohsiung Mayor and DPP
member Chen Chu would be welcome to visit the Mainland to promote
tourism, Yang said China welcomes exchanges that are conducive to
promoting cross-Strait relations.

--Pandas: Yang commented that the two sides are making "active
preparations" for the pandas "Tuan Tuan" and "Yuan Yuan" to move to
Taipei.

--Trade Cooperation: The spokesman said the fourth Hunan-Taiwan
Economic and Trade Exchange Cooperation Convention, from November
15-17 in Xiangtan City, will introduce many investment opportunities
in Hunan Province.
PICCUTA

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