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.

131304Z May 05




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan dailies gave extensive coverage and
editorial reporting May 13 to the meeting between PFP
Chairman James Soong and Chinese President Hu Jintao
and President Chen Shui-bian's response to the meeting
in a TV interview Thursday. Almost all Chinese-
language newspapers in Taiwan reported on the Soong-Hu
meeting on their front pages. The centrist "China
Times" ran a banner headline that read: "Soong-Hu
communiqu: [the statement of] `two sides of [Taiwan]
Strait, one China' [is used to] interpret the 1992
Consensus." The pro-unification "United Daily News"
also headlined in its front page: "Soong-Hu meeting:
`two sides of [Taiwan] Strait, one China' and `no use
of force if [there is] no [Taiwan] independence." The
pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" focused on Chen's
response to the Soong-Hu meeting in its front page,
quoting Chen as saying that "China makes zero
concession." A second story on the same page of the
"Taiwan Daily" read: "The 1992 Consensus is `two sides
of [Taiwan] Strait, one China.'" The pro-independence
"Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily, is the only
Chinese-language daily that did not report on the Soong-
Hu meeting on its front page. On its second page,
however, the "Liberty Times" printed a banner headline
that said: "Soong and Hu gang up and invent `two sides
of [Taiwan] Strait, one China,'" and the sub-headline
read: "Both men met and reached a 6-point consensus,
hoping to use the new term to define the 1992 Consensus
and use it as a basis for the resumption of cross-
Strait talks."

2. President Chen's criticism of the results of the
Soong-Hu meeting was reported in the first few pages of
most dailies. The "Liberty Times" noted on its page
two: "Bian: What's the use of visiting [China] if China
does not make any concession?" A page-two story in the
"United Daily News" headlined: "Bian: the six-point
consensus of Soong and Hu will create new problems." A
page-three news story of the "China Times" also said:
"Bian criticizes Soong for violating their 10-point

3. In terms of editorials and commentaries, both the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" and "Taiwan Daily"
editorialized that Hu Jintao has joined hands with Lien
and Soong to restrain and destroy Taiwan. A limited-
circulation, pro-independence English-language "Taipei
Times" editorial also said it is hard to find any
substantive and innovative surprises in the Soong-Hu
talks. A "United Daily News" editorial commented on
Soong's China trip, saying Soong has failed to help
build a bridge between Chen and Hu as the words "1992
Consensus" continued to remain in the six-point
consensus reached between Soong and Hu. As a result,
the editorial said, future relations between Soong and
Chen will surely face more complicated tests. A "China
Times" news analysis, however, gave a positive
assessment of the Soong-Hu talks, saying Beijing has
demonstrated some flexibility and the room for cross-
Strait reconciliation has thus increased. A separate
"United Daily News" news analysis said traces of
Washington's manipulation efforts are evident in the
structure of interactions between the two sides of the
Taiwan Strait. End summary.

A) "Hu, Lien, Soong Join Forces to Constrain Taiwan;
Even the Shadow of the Republic of China Disappears"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation:
800,000] editorialized (5/13):

". Whether it is the Lien-Hu press communiqu or the
Soong-Hu conference communiqu, both blur Taiwan's
sovereignty and further play the trick of promoting
unification by economic interests. The bridge built by
them leads to surrender. .

". James Soong's `cooperation-with-the-communists' tour
is approaching the end. With the two united-front
helpers of Lien Chan and Soong, China's ability to
destroy Taiwan by the united-front tactic will
definitely be strengthened. This will be a major trial
for Taiwan moving toward a normalized nation.
[Judging] from the implicit mutual understanding that
Lien Chan and James Soong have with Hu Jintao, their
common denominators with Hu are much larger than those
with the people of Taiwan. If President Chen still
wants to insist on Taiwan's sovereignty and security,
he can no longer fantasize about using the Republic of
China, which Lien and Soong dared not to mention [in
the mainland], as the common denominator to seek
reconciliation and co-existence with Lien and Soong,
who are joining forces with the communists to constrain
Taiwan. It is because Lien and Soong not only did not
find a route favorable for Taiwan, but also paved the
way for China to have a hand in Taiwan. Will Lien and
Soong succeed in working with the communists against
Taiwan or even selling out Taiwan? Will China succeed
in using the Trojan Horse strategy to win unification
by economic benefits? Will Taiwan's national
identification be torn down and tilted toward China?
Everyone is waiting to see what President Chen will do
facing this historically crucial time. Whether he will
fight against the fad of cooperating with the
communists and the China fever or succumb to this
adverse current and make preparations for a Bian-Hu
meeting, all this involves the survival of the 23
million people in Taiwan and the protection of

B) "`Two Sides of the Strait, One China' Is Extension
of `One-China Roof,' Soong Ignores Taiwan's Sovereign
Status. Without Sovereignty How Can One Talk About
Cross-Strait Equal-footing Negotiations? Lien, Soong
Failed to Oppose 1992 Consensus During China Visits and
Lost Taiwan People's Dignity'"

The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" [circulation:
150,000] commented in an editorial (5/13):

". James Soong said to resume negotiations on an equal
footing based on the `Two Side of the Strait, One
China' principle is an extension of his past proposal
of the `one-China Roof' theory. There is nothing new
about this. Under the `one-China' framework, it equals
losing Taiwan's sovereignty and [gaining] a status not
different from Hong Kong's. The so-called `Two Sides
of the Strait, One China' is plainly a reproduction of
`one country, two systems.' How can there be any equal
sovereign footing or `resumption of negotiations on an
equal basis' between the two sides across the Strait?
James Soong's statement is self-deception. How can it
be accepted by the majority of the Taiwan people? ."

C) "Soong-Hu Meeting an Anti-Climax"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (5/13):

"The supposed climax of People First Party (PFP)
Chairman James Soong's trip to China took place
yesterday, when he finally met with Chinese President
Hu Jintao. Although many observers had assigned
slightly more significance to Soong's meeting with Hu
than the prior meeting between Hu and Chinese
Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan as a result
of the 10-point consensus Soong had reached with
President Chen Shui-bian, it is hard to find any
substantive and innovative surprises in the Soong-Hu
talks. .

"As for conducting substantive talks with Chinese
officials, nothing they said had not been uttered
before. At the core of all their speeches is still the
`one China' principle and the so-called `1992
consensus' under which this principle is supposedly
recognized. In other words, the fundamental roadblock
preventing any progress in the cross-strait
relationship remains. .

"Ironically, in repudiating Taiwan independence as an
option, Soong went on to say that independence would
only bring disaster and war. The problem is that these
disasters and war could be averted if only China could
learn to respect Taiwan's democracy and its right to
self-determination. So, at the end of the day, Taiwan
independence is not an option to some people only
because Beijing had made it to."

D) "James Soong Fails to Build a Bridge between Chen
Shui-bian and Hu Jintao"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation:
600,000] editorialized (5/13):

"Hu Jintao has revealed his last card. The discourse on
the positions of the two sides of the Strait agreed on
between him and James Soong equals the answer he gives
President Chen Shui-bian via this `envoy.' .

"There are two points about the position of the two
sides of the Strait in the `meeting communiqu'
released after the Soong-Hu meeting: `1992 Consensus'
and `anti-Taiwan independence.' .

"The formation process of the `1992 Consensus' concept
was quite circuitous, and now it has been summarized
into the four words of `Yi Chung Ke Piao' (one China
with each side giving its own interpretation), and it
is generally recognized as the bottom line for
interpretation. The `conference communiqu' this time
preserves the four words of `Chiu Erh Kung Shih' (1992
Consensus), and it is already against Chen Shui-bian's
expectations. ...

"...The Mainland Affairs Council has already declared
that the so-called `two sides of the Strait, one China'
is just another form of the packaging of the `one China
principle syllogism' (there is only one China in the
world, Mainland and Taiwan belong to the same China,
and China's sovereignty and complete territory cannot
be allowed to be split). This kind of response is not
something James Soong expected.

". Hu Jintao's definition of the `1992 Consensus' was
sealed in his welcoming remarks, and that is `insisting
on realizing the 1992 Consensus, which is the one China
principle.' This also limits the interpretation space
for the `meeting communiqu.' Whether Chen Shui-bian
will accept such an interpretation of `the contents of
the 1992 meeting' will be a struggle.

"Now talking about `anti-Taiwan independence:' In the
`press communiqu' issued between Lien and Hu, only the
four words of `Fan Dui Tai Du' (opposition to Taiwan
independence) was seen; but in the `conference
communiqu' between Soong and Hu, about 130 words were
used to handle this issue, and `name rectification,'
`referendum,' and `the making of a new Constitution'
were all defined as [movements of ] `Taiwan
independence.' A statement attracting more attention
is that `as long as Taiwan does not show any
possibility of proceeding toward independence, it will
be effective to avoid cross-Strait military conflicts.'
This is generally recognized as `no independence, no
war,' but the opposition meaning to this is `if Taiwan
wants to become independent, then there would be a
war.' On this point, James Soong seems to be trying to
find an interpretation beneficial to cross-Strait peace
in Chinese Communist Party's `Anti-Secession Law.'"

"The block of words President Chen pays most attention
to should be `[we] hope the Taiwan leader carries out
tangibly the promise of `five noes.' This block of
words is very likely to cause controversies in the
country, as the deep-green supporters will think that
James Soong asked Hu Jintao to endorse the `10-point
consensus between Bian and Soong.'" Although James
Soong has written the Feb 24 `10-point consensus
between Bian and Soong' into history, this move is very
likely to prevent the `Bian-Soong framework' from being

"[We can see] from observing conclusions from the Soong-
Hu meeting, Hu is still adopting the strategy of `when
hard being harder, when soft being softer.' The `10-
point consensus between Bian and Soong' did not bring
about prominent benefits, the four words of `Chiu Erh
Kung Shih' still exists, and the relationship between
Bian and Soong is certain to face more complicated
tests. .

"For James Soong, the last possibility for him to turn
around is his return to the country today, and if he
keeps to the same direction then he is really walking
down the road of no return; for Chen Shui-bian, if he
keeps holding to James Soong, he would make the
situation more difficult to be solved; now he has to
turn around and find remedies inside the green camp,
and if he cannot smooth over the internal conflicts
inside the green camp, the cross-Strait policies will
still be at a standstill.

"After all, before attempting to deal with cross-Strait
relations, [Chen] has to handle and have good control
of the cross-party and faction relations, and he
especially has to lead the green camp to

E) "Beijing Demonstrates Flexibility; Room for [Cross-
Strait] Reconciliation Increases"

Journalist Wang Chuo-chung noted in a news analysis of
the centrist, pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 600,000] (5/13):

"Have the words `two sides of the [Taiwan] Strait, one
China' broken the long-term political standstill across
the Taiwan Strait? This is a question many people feel
like asking following the meeting between [PFP
Chairman] James Soong and Chinese President Hu Jintao.
In fact, the reason why Beijing showed interest in
holding summits with Taiwan's opposition leaders is
mainly because it wanted to mitigate the tensions
across the Taiwan Strait triggered by China's passage
of the Anti-Secession Law. Cross-Strait tensions were
indeed alleviated following [KMT Chairman] Lien Chan's
and Soong's China trips, but the political deadlock
still remains, as evidenced by the DPP's unanimous
attacks against the consensus reached between Lien,
Soong and Hu. .

"Even though Taiwan's Pan-Blue camp's understanding of
the contents of the `1992 Consensus' differs from that
of Beijing's, the statement of `two sides of the
Strait, one China' cited in the Soong-Hu meeting
indicated that to a certain extent, Beijing shares a
tacit agreement with the Pan-Blue camp about `one
China, different interpretations.' For Beijing, the
focus now remains whether or not the ruling DPP is
willing to agree to `one China under the Constitution.'
In fact, anytime in the future if the DPP is willing to
talk about `one China,' that will mean it has provided
a staircase for Beijing to step down, and Beijing will
immediately agree to resume talks with Taiwan, which
have been cut off for a long time.

"Some experts in Taiwan affairs analyzed that Hu's new
policy goal toward Taiwan has shifted from anti-
independence and push for unification to maintaining
the status quo, and in terms of political definition
for both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Hu tends to
silently acknowledge the `one China, different
interpretations' advocated by the Pan-Blue camp. In
the meantime, the experts believe that Hu has started
to see President Chen Shui-bian as a rival that he can
talk with rather than a target that he must attack. As
a result, given the fact that Beijing is willing to
tacitly consent to the existence of the Republic of
China, the room for seeking reconciliation with Chen in
the future has thus increased."

F) "The 10-Point Consensus [Announced by] Bian and
Soong Emerges in the Conference Communiqu [between
Soong and Hu]"

Journalists Yang Yu-wen and Lin Hsin-hui noted in a
news analysis of the pro-unification "United Daily
News" [circulation: 600,000] (5/13):

". It is noteworthy that traces of Washington's
manipulation efforts are evident in the structure of
[cross-Strait] interactions between the `two sides of
[Taiwan] Strait, one China' and `no use of force if
[there is] no independence.' Under the China-U.S.
interaction framework, one China was [a concept]
acknowledged by each side separately; namely, Beijing
talks about the one China principle whereas Washington
said it is a one China policy, and both sides have
their own space to maneuver. Beijing sought to discuss
the commitment of no Taiwan independence stated in the
10-point consensus announced by President Chen Shui-
bian and Soong after having built the precondition
[with the PFP] regarding `two sides of [Taiwan] Strait,
one China.' Then it used the communiqu issued by the
PFP and Chinese Communist Party, in which both urge the
Taiwan leaders to adhere to his [five no] pledge, as a
condition and broach [the proposal of] `no use of force
if [there is] no independence.' Such a move meets
Washington's policy direction and interests exactly and
has predetermined [the possibility of] future dialogue
between the authorities of both sides of the Taiwan


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