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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.

270807Z Apr 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001939

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: Almost all the major Chinese-language
Taipei dailies focused April 27 on the violent clashes
at CKS Airport between Pan-Blue and Pan-Green
supporters Tuesday morning when they "saw off" KMT
Chairman Lien Chan as he embarked on his eight-day trip
to China. The centrist "China Times" is the only
Chinese-language newspaper that reported on Lien's
China trip on its front page, with the headline: "Sixty
years later, Lien Chan arrives in Nanjing." The "China
Times" and the two pro-independence newspapers -
"Liberty Times" and "Taiwan Daily" - all carried the
same news story on their page two which quoted
President Chen Shui-bian as saying that there should be
reconciliation in Taiwan before cross-Strait talks are
conducted. The pro-unification "United Daily News"
reported on its second page that Lien and Chinese
President Hu Jintao will likely talk about building a
military security mechanism across the Taiwan Strait.

2. A "United Daily News" editorial discussed President
Chen's April 25 telephone conversation with Lien prior
to the latter's departure, in which Chen mentioned that
"the [Taiwan] government does not deny `the contents of
the talks in 1992,' but it is a historical fact that
`there was no 1992 consensus.'" The editorial said
Chen's remarks indicate that he might accept the
consensus if both sides of the Taiwan Strait agree to
forgo the term "the 1992 consensus" and use "the
contents of talks [between the two sides] in 1992" in
its place. A limited-circulation, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" editorial commented on
Lien's China trip, saying it is full of big challenges
as he has to find common ground for both sides on a
range of bitter disputes. End summary.

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A) "The April 25 Telephone Conversation [between
President Chen and Lien Chan]: Lien and Hu Might as
well Give Chen Shui-bian a Hand?"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation:
600,000] editorialized (4/27):

". What's noteworthy is that during his telephone
conversation with [KMT Chairman] Lien Chan April 25,
President Chen took the initiative to mention `the 1992
consensus,' and both men chatted about it on the phone.
But the discussion [about the 1992 consensus] that was
evident in the press release announced by the KMT
failed to appear in the press release issued by the
Presidential Office later. .

"It is said that Chen said on the phone: the [Taiwan]
government does not deny `the contents of the talks in
1992,' but it is a historical fact that `there was no
1992 consensus.'

"Chen's remarks seemed to say: he believes that the
words `the 1992 consensus' were created by some other
people later and that there was no such term in 1992.
Therefore, Chen does not acknowledge the words `the
1992 consensus,' but he does not deny `the contents of
the talks [between both sides of the Taiwan Strait] in
1992.'

"Such an approach of fickleness and paying excessive
attention to wording has again put Chen in a dilemma.
This is because Chen has once said `the 1992 consensus'
was `one country, two systems'; it was [an attempt to]
`annihilate the Republic of China' and it was
`capitulationism.' Regardless of whether these
statements can be called `the 1992 consensus,' are they
the `the contents of the talks in 1992'? It is thus
evident that when Chen said he does `not deny the
contents of the talks [by both sides of the Taiwan
Strait] in 1992,' the contents he referred to were
definitely not the terminology he demonized earlier. .

"The chat about `the 1992 consensus' during the April
25 telephone conversation [between Chen and Lien]
indicate that Chen was trying to check out Beijing's
attitude via his conversation with Lien. Chen is of
course too embarrassed to say that he acknowledges `the
1992 consensus' now, but `the contents of the talks in
1992' as called by Chen are definitely not the
terminology that he once demonized. In other words, if
both sides of the Taiwan Strait agree to term `the 1992
consensus' as `the contents of the talks in 1992,'
chances are that Chen might accept and acknowledge [the
consensus.] The reason why the Presidential Office
deliberately deleted such a discussion [in its press
release] was because it wanted to play down its
fickleness and to leave some leeway for this major
political probe. .

"If Chen's remark that he `does not deny the contents
of the talks in 1992' is an approach to probe
[Beijing's attitude], we hope that both Lien and
[Chinese President] Hu Jintao would give Chen a hand by
not being tied down by the words `the 1992 consensus.'
They might as well come up with a broader discourse on
`the contents of the talks in 1992' that is more
applicable or acceptable for both sides. ."

B) "Lien's Peace Mission to PRC Filled with Big
Challenges"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" [circulation: 30,000] noted in an
editorial (4/27):

". Indeed, the mission Lien carries with him is
extremely challenging. On the one hand, he must have
the courage to firmly defend Taiwan's political
sovereignty and unequivocally reflect the opinion of
the majority of its 23 million people, even though he
is traveling in a private capacity and as the leader of
his own party.

"At the same time, Lien has to use his wisdom and
political prowess to get his Beijing hosts to listen to
him carefully and to find common ground on a range of
bitter disputes so as to create an atmosphere for
reconciliation and, ultimately, for action by the
governments of the two sides to reopen dialogue. ."

KEEGAN

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