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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

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

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001873

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

1. Summary: Taipei dailies' April 21 coverage of the
forthcoming China visits by KMT Chairman Lien Chan and
PFP Chairman James Soong focused on Lien's and KMT
Secretary-General Lin Feng-cheng's remarks Wednesday

SIPDIS
that both sides of the Strait have been ruled
separately. The centrist "China Times" carried a
banner headline on its second page that said: "Lien
Chan: [the fact that] both sides of the Taiwan Strait
are ruled separately will be the keynote for Lien's
meeting with [Chinese President] Hu Jintao." A front-
page news story of the pro-unification "United Daily
News" and a page-three news story of the pro-
independence "Taiwan Daily" also reported that Lien
Chan will mention the fact that both sides of the
Strait have been ruled separately during his trip to
China.

2. The pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's
biggest daily, carried a news story on its second page
that said: "The United States does not want to see
Taiwan split because of Lien's and Soong's visits to
China." The sub-headline added: "[U.S. Deputy
Assistant Secretary of State] Randy Schriver said the
United States will watch the results of Lien's and
Soong's visits to China and their impact on Taiwan's
domestic politics." A "Liberty Times" news analysis
said on the same page that Schriver's remarks have
cleared up Washington's ambiguous position and have
thrown cold water on Lien and Soong because Washington
thinks that it will add more variables to the cross-
Strait relations if China only communicates with
Taiwan's opposition parties. The centrist "China
Times," however, covered Schriver's remarks from a
different angle. The "China Times" reported on page
two that Schriver said "Beijing will have to engage in
a dialogue with the Taiwan authorities in the end after
all," and the sub-headline said: "The results of the
opposition party leaders' visits to China are yet
unknown, but Washington's position is `to talk is
better than not to talk.'" A "China Times" commentary
sought to analyze the significance of the term
"Republic of China" with regard to Lien's and Soong's
visits, saying that these visits have highlighted the
fact that Beijing would rather step back and accept the
`ROC' than watch Taiwan move forward to become `the
Republic of Taiwan.' End summary.

"The `Republic of China' Emerges in Lien's and Soong's
Visits to China"

Journalist Hsiao Hsu-tsen commented in the "My Views"
column of the centrist, pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 600,000] (4/21):

"[KMT Chairman] Lien Chan and [PFP Chairman] James
Soong will visit China in succession as guests of
Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) Secretary-General Hu
Jintao. These visits can indeed be viewed as major
events in the history of cross-Strait interaction, and
its political significance is more important than that
of the two meetings between [former Straits Exchange
Foundation Chairman] C.F. Koo and China's Association
for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait Wang Chairman
Daohan. The focus of Lien's first-ever visit to China
is its historical significance and the ice-breaking
atmosphere. Soong will visit China on Lien's heels,
and given the foundation of the [10-point] consensus
reached by Soong and President Chen and the four-point
talks by Hu [in early March], his visit has kind of
demonstrated the `indistinct dialogue' flavor between
the leaders of both sides of the Taiwan Strait.

"There is another aspect of major significance that can
be observed from the signals sent out with regard to
Lien's and Soong's visits: under the joint tacit
agreement between the KMT and CCP to maintain a low-
profile manner [with regard to Lien's visit to China],
the word `Republic of China' has silently emerged onto
the platform of cross-Strait dialogue. Beijing's new
way of thinking and its flexibility are evident as
demonstrated by [China's People's Political
Consultative Committee Chairman] Jia Qinglin's mention
of the `Republic of China' March 31 and his words that
`ROC and the PRC are two separate teams under a single
brand' to the breakthrough that Lien can step foot on
mainland China using his ROC passport. .

"Lien and Soong both see the `ROC' as a bottom line for
all political views. If Beijing can put aside the `one
China syllogism' as mentioned in [former Chinese
President] Jiang Zemin's eight-points and is willing to
acknowledge the `ROC' in an indirect and implicit way,
chances for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resume
dialogue will be greatly increased.

"Given such a foundation, Lien's and Soong's upcoming
visits to China have highlighted [a fact] that Beijing
would rather step back and accept the `ROC' than watch
Taiwan move forward to become `the Republic of Taiwan.'
This development may be seen as additional splendor for
the Pan-Blue camp that has always upheld the
constitution and national title of the ROC. But for
President Chen Shui-bian's DPP government, it is a ball
thrown out by China that is most difficult to catch.
It depends on Chen's wisdom [to determine] how to catch
such a ball."
PAAL

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