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.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan May 5 dailies focused on two aspects
of cross-Strait relations: China's unfriendly gestures
toward Taiwan, and Taiwan's moves to test to what
extent China will show its goodwill toward Taiwan.
With regard to China's unfriendly gestures, the pro-
independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily,
carried a banner headline on the front page that read:
"China's oil exploration vessel illegally entered
Taiwan waters several times.' The centrist "China
Times" headlined in page five: "China supports Taiwan
to join the WHO? No way." As to Taiwan's move to test
China's responses, the "China Times" carried a report
in page one regarding PFP Chairman James Soong's
upcoming "bridge-building" visit to China, and the pro-
unification "United Daily News" reported in page one
Taiwan's plan to link cross-Strait cargo flights with
China's proposal of allowing China people to travel to

2. Editorials of most Taiwan dailies commented on the
aftermath of KMT Chairman Lien Chan's visit to China.
The "Liberty Times" editorialized that the fact that
President Chen Shui-bian changed his attitude toward
Lien's China trip cannot be forgiven by Taiwan people,
and as a result his approval rating in a recent poll
slumped by seven percent. A "United Daily News"
editorial made the comment that Chen's denial of the
"1992 consensus" would hinder both sides of the Taiwan
from achieving a cross-Strait win-win situation on
economics. End summary.

A) "Those Who Betray Taiwan People and Choose to Walk
on China's Red Carpet Can Step down Now!"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation:
800,000] editorialized (5/5):

". A-bian's change of attitude [toward the China trips
by KMT Chairman Lien Chan and PFP Chairman James Soong]
seems to be related to the fact that he has only three
years remaining in his term of office and that he does
not want to step down without any real achievements.
Chen's intention may be understandable but is
unacceptable for the Taiwan people because even though
reconciliation between the ruling and opposition
political parties is a good thing, it cannot be done at
the expense of the people's national identification and
their well-being. A-bian's turnaround regarding his
[political route] and his concessions concerning
national identification have endangered the foundation
of Taiwan's existence. In fact, people support A-bian
as the president because they support the Taiwanization
route that he adopts and people are concerned about
Taiwan's existence and survival. If A-bian makes
compromise with or concessions to any political groups
or individuals that represent the China route, it will
mean betrayal to his voters. Recently, some DPP
grassroots supporters began to demand that A-bian
withdraw from the DPP, and a poll survey also showed
that the DPP's approval rate has dropped by seven
percentage points. The DPP officials are also confused
and thus fail to identify with A-bian's changing China
policy. All these show that once A-bian betrays the
Taiwan people and chooses to walk on the red carpet of
China, perhaps the role he will play on the political
stage will not be the `key act' but the `closing
ceremony' for him to step down."

B) "Between the Thin Line of Ice and Fire: Do Not
Rashly Miss the Opportunity of a Win-Win [Situation]
for Cross-Strait Trade"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation:
600,000] commented in its editorial (5/5):

". The impact of KMT Chairman Lien Chan's meeting with
Chinese President Hu Jintao on Taiwan's economy remains
uncertain, but the key [of the impact] lies in the
response of the ruling authorities. If President Chen
. can respect Lien as an opposition leader . and
exercise his dominant influence of a ruler and seek to
coordinate and pragmatically review the viable parts of
the conclusions made during the Lien-Hu meeting; and if
Chen can start with positive talks with the opposition
parties, followed by a non-political dialogue with
Beijing in an attempt to respond to the business
sector's expectations for a stable development of cross-
Strait trade relations, the opportunity to create a win-
win situation for both sides of the Taiwan Strait is
sure to succeed. On the other hand, however, if Chen
simply denies every possibility by citing the
contentious `1992 Consensus' and as a result,
eradicates any mutual trust between the ruling and
opposition parties and between the two sides of the
Taiwan Strait, or even tries to trigger a bigger
conflict, chances are high that [cross-Strait
relations] will take a big step backwards.

"As a matter of fact, [we] do not need to aim high with
regard to the establishment of a cross-Strait economic
cooperation mechanism; making cross-Strait interaction
predictable is perhaps the most pragmatic approach.
[We believe] such a [positive] development is worth
waiting for, judging from the signals sent by Chen
overseas that said the `main show across the Taiwan
Strait is not on yet' and his characterization of
Lien's and Soong's China trips as a move to pave the
way for `future direct dialogue between governments of
both sides of the Taiwan Strait.'"


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