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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations, Sino-

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

210301Z Apr 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 04 TAIPEI 001863

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD -
ROBERT PALLADINO
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

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


1. Summary: The upcoming trips to China by KMT Chairman
Lien Chan and PFP Chairman James Soong have received
wide coverage in the Taipei dailies April 20, as to be
expected after Taiwan's Presidential Office April 19
announcement put the visits in a somewhat different
light. The Presidential Office announced Tuesday that
no one would disagree with the fact that the 10-point
consensus reached by President Chen Shui-bian and PFP
Chairman James Soong in late February represents Chen's
position. That possibly implies that Soong's visit, at
least, is not contrary to President Chen's wishes. The
pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan biggest daily,
ran a banner headline on its front page that said:
"Lien and Soong to visit China, the Green Camp proposes
three oppositions and three insistences." The sub-
headline added: "DPP Executive Committee passed a
resolution and is firmly opposed to using the
acceptance of one China and the 1992 consensus as the
pre-condition for [Taiwan] political party leaders'
visits to China. [The DPP] will use the resolution [as
a criteria] to examine Lien and Soong." The "Liberty
Times" also carried a news story on page two which said
"In the face of Lien's and Soong's China's trips, the
United States is concerned that the arms procurement
may not be passed easily." The sub-headline read:
"High-ranking sources said the United States believes
Beijing should contact Taiwan's ruling government and
[the United States] also says frankly that it hopes
Taiwan will not further delay the U.S. arms
procurements by switching the focus." The centrist
"China Times," however, carried a story on page four
that quoted the PFP as saying that should a consensus
be reached by Soong and Chinese President Hu Jintao, it
might become the basis for both sides of the Taiwan
Strait to resume dialogue.

2. The "Liberty Times" ran an editorial strongly
criticizing the planned visits to China by Taiwan's
opposition party leaders. It urged the Taiwan
government not to treat Lien's and Soong's visits
differently, or it will fall into a trap set by China.
A limited-circulation, pro-independence English-
language "Taipei Times" editorial called on the leaders
of the three main parties to hold a summit on national
affairs and to pass the U.S. arms procurement bill
before Lien and Soong visit China. A "China Times"
news analysis said that Beijing's plan is to have Lien
and Soong build a bridge first so as to encourage
President Chen Shui-bian to "take a new route." The
limited-circulation, pro-unification English-language
"China Post" editorial said Lien's and Soong's upcoming
visits to China reflect a "sea change" in Taiwan's
domestic politics and may pave the way for Taiwan and
Beijing to bury the hatchet and move toward political
reconciliation.

3. The major Chinese-language Taiwan newspapers'
coverage of the anti-Japanese disputes has decreased
further, and only one limited-circulation English-
language newspaper editorialized on this issue. The
pro-independence English-language "Taiwan News" said
the anti-Japanese riots in China confirm the validity
of Taiwan's fears of the dangers from extreme "great
Chinese" nationalism. End summary.

1. Cross-Strait Relations

A) "[We] Will Not Allow [Lien and Soong] to Offer the
Safety and Well-being of the 23 Million [Taiwan] People
as Tribute to Curry Favor with China"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation:
800,000] editorialized (4/20):

". In other words, in terms of national sovereignty,
China is Taiwan's only enemy; as for the aspect of
economic development, China is Taiwan's biggest
competitor. In the face of such an enemy and a rival
that tries to get all it wants by fair means or foul,
Taiwan's cross-Strait policy must focus on self-
protection; namely, it must make sure that the
foundation of Taiwan's economic developments will not
be undermined, its freedom and democracy will not be
sabotaged, and that its national sovereignty will not
be trampled. Based on such a pre-condition, Taiwan
obviously should maintain a certain distance with China
so as to ensure its safety. The visits to China by
Taiwan's opposition party leaders, with or without the
government's authorization or the ten-point consensus
reached between Chen and Soong, are inappropriate
behaviors. In particular, China is getting more and
more skillful in applying the united front tactics on
Taiwan. It could appeal to the Anti-Secession Law on
one hand and befriend Lien and Soong on the other so as
to be ready to launch an attack against the Taiwan
government simultaneously from within and without. The
government will fall into the trap set by China if it
decides to adopt a differentiate treatment toward Lien
and Soong. ."

B) "Expediency Only Goes so Far"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] commented in its editorial
(4/20):

". Before Lien and Soong visit Beijing, it is crucial
that the leaders of the three main parties hold a
summit on national affairs. Only if some level of
consensus is reached will the KMT and PFP chairmen be
able to engage in substantive negotiations with
Beijing. .

"To ensure that the Taiwanese people emerge as victors
from these talks, the two party chairmen should demand
legislators push through the long-delayed arms-
procurement bill before arriving in China. We all know
that peace is built on security, so Taiwan should first
secure its position before entering into talks with
China. Only then will the talks hold any meaning."

C) "Beijing's Plan Is That Lien and Soong Will Build a
Bridge [across the Taiwan Strait] for Bian to `Take a
New Route'"

Journalist Wang Li-chuan commented in a news analysis
of the conservative, pro-unification "United Daily
News" [circulation: 600,000] (4/20):

"Beijing has been very proactively in inviting the
chairmen of Taiwan's two major political parties to
visit mainland China lately in an attempt to open a new
channel and platform for cross-Strait dialogue and
communication. The cross-Strait situation is now at a
state of `Where the hills and streams end and there
seems no road beyond, amidst shading willows and
blooming flowers another village appears' - meaning one
begins to see hope when all seems lost. Beijing's
invitations revealed many of its intentions: in
addition to show the United States its attitude to
build the channel of dialogue across the Taiwan Strait
proactively, China also wants to place pressure on the
Chen Shui-bian government using the power of Taiwan's
opposition parties so as to force him to accept the
`1992 consensus' and to push the cross-Strait ties back
to the `one China' framework.

"Judged either from the domestic or international
perspective, the Chen Shui-bian administration and his
party will suffer a great pressure following [KMT
Chairman] Lien Chan's and [PFP] Chairman James Soong's
visits to China. In terms of the international
climate, a stabilized cross-Strait situation is in the
interests of all countries involved at the current
stage. Beijing has more than once told Washington that
it `will adopt measures to reduce cross-Strait
tensions,' and its invitations will give U.S. Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, who is always relentless
about the Beijing regime, no reasons to find fault with
it. Beijing's invitations to the leaders of Taiwan's
two major opposition parties are all the more a gesture
to show to the international community that even though
Beijing has passed the Anti-Secession Law, its position
is to advocate cross-Strait peace and stability. .

"Lien and Soong will soon visit mainland China
separately, and a new aspect for the cross-Strait
relations will be unveiled. The Beijing authorities
have more than once sent out signals of
`reconciliation' to the Chen Shui-bian administration
and his party; its purpose of hoping that the DPP will
`take a new route' is more than evident."

D) "PRC Visits by Lien and Soong Reflect Political Sea
Change"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" [circulation: 30,000] noted in an
editorial (4/20):

"The scheduled historic visits to Beijing in the next
few weeks by KMT chairman Lien Chan and PFP leaders
James Soong reflect a sea change in Taiwan's domestic
politics and may pave the way for this island and its
arch-rival mainland China to bury the hatchet and move
toward political reconciliation. .

"When examined deeply, however, Lien and Soong's coming
mainland trips mark a shift in a popular mood to
improve relations with China. It is this nascent
opinion shift that has emboldened the KMT and PFP
leaders to embrace Beijing without having to worry that
their new policy will cause their parties to lose voter
support, as they have been in the past.

"Meanwhile, Lien and Soong's bold initiatives to visit
Beijing reflect a corresponding decline in Chen's
political influence and his usually powerful populism.
He can no longer continue to deny an opposition role in
the debate on cross-strait policy by painting their
politicians red by accusing them of selling out Taiwan
or being the communists' fellow travelers.

"The current surge in the embrace of China among the
opposition leaders, in fact, is only part of a recent
series of developments that underscore a dwindling in
the influence of the independence movement as a whole,
and this dwindling was brought about by three major
factors.

"First and more important is the DPP's humiliating
setbacks in the December election. The inability of
Chen, who campaigned for a new Constitution and a plan
to change China-linked names of all government
institutions, to win a legislative majority has made it
impossible for him to carry out those plans. More
fundamentally, the poll setbacks have weakened his
legitimacy to push for his political agenda.

"Another factor was a change in U.S. policy. For the
past year or so, Washington has reinforced its stance
of not supporting Taiwan independence by consistently
warning Chen not to take any moves to unilaterally
alter the cross-strait status quo. Otherwise, he could
risk losing U.S. backing.

"A third reason is the impact of Beijing's recently
enacted anti-secession law, which authorizes the
mainland to attack Taiwan if it moves toward formal
independence. The threat of attack has produced a
constraining impact on Chen and his administration. ."

2. Sino-Japanese Disputes

"Anti-Japanese Riots in China Confirm Taiwan's Worries"

The pro-independence "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] commented in its editorial (4/20):

". As a victim of 50 years of Japanese colonial
occupation from 1895 to 1945, Taiwan and its people,
including many whom directly experienced Japanese
aggression in China as well, has ample reasons to
resent Japanese rule and no reason to defend Japan's
record in the Second World War, but so far have
remained relatively quiet in the current wave of anti-
Japanese protests.

"The prime reason lies in the fact that the Taiwan
government and most of our people are rather concerned
about the present and possible future impact of the
surfacing of a virulent form of great Chinese
chauvinism than about the undeniable reality of
Japanese crimes of aggression committed nearly 70 years
ago. .

"Given its status as one of the world's greatest
economic powers and its postwar diplomatic record
(including its active role in humanitarian aid
programs), Japan fully deserves a seat on the U.N.
Security Council even though chauvinist political
forces still exist and have some influence, as the
approval of the offending textbooks unfortunately
shows. .

"Moreover, the tacit approval of the PRC authorities to
the overt displays of racism and chauvinism against
Japanese citizens ahs starkly underlined the validity
of Taiwan's own concerns of possible aggression by the
PRC and the all too real possibility that the Beijing
authorities could stir up similar waves of `popular
anger' against Taiwan and Taiwan citizens or against
the people of any country that supports Taiwan someday
in the future.

"We hope in particular that global policy-makers will
take seriously this threat. In particular, we urge the
European Union to continue to maintain the EU's embargo
on the sale of arms to the PRC, imposed in the wake of
the Tiananmen Incident."

PAAL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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