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Cablegate: Former Uspacom Commander Keating's Office Call

VZCZCXRO7489
RR RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHIN #1496/01 3500930
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 160930Z DEC 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2962
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001496

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: MARR MAS PREL TW CH
SUBJECT: FORMER USPACOM COMMANDER KEATING'S OFFICE CALL
WITH PRESIDENT MA YING-JEOU

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: President Ma and Admiral (Retired) Keating
discussed cross-strait relations, confidence building
measures, US-Taiwan relations, PRC military development, and
arms sales during a December 15 meeting. Improved
cross-Strait ties bolstered regional security, Ma said, but
needed to be balanced with improvements in Taiwan's
relationship with the United States. In that respect, the
President said, continued U.S. arms sales were particularly
important. Although economics were his priority in
cross-Strait discussions, PRC military activities might
require him to engage the PRC on political topics as well, Ma
said. Both Keating and Ma stressed the importance of good
U.S.-Taiwan relations. End Summary.

Cross-Strait Relations
----------------------

2. (SBU) During a December 15 meeting with ADM(R) Keating,
Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou outlined his effort to reach a
consensus with Beijing on the need to reduce tension in the
Taiwan Strait and improve regional security. Ma noted that,
four days after the March 2008 Taiwan presidential election,
PRC President Hu Jintao told then-U.S. President Bush that he
could accept "one China, different interpretations" (the 1992
Consensus) as a basis for cross-Strait discussions. This, Ma
said, gave both sides the flexibility to make progress on
practical matters. There was mainstream consensus on Taiwan,
Ma emphasized, on the need to maintain the status quo and on
the sense that a Taiwan identity did not mean an independent
Taiwan. Taiwan had no need to declare independence, Ma
stressed. The Republic of China had been a sovereign state
for 98 years and would not declare independence again.
ADM(R) Keating commended President Ma for his efforts to
decrease cross-Strait tension and improve stability in the
Pacific region and noted these efforts had had profound and
measurable effects.

3. (SBU) Ma noted that the Mutual Judicial Assistance
Agreement stood out amongst the nine agreements recently
signed between Taiwan and the PRC. Since the signing of this
agreement, he said, PRC authorities had made over 3,000
requests for repatriation of criminals who have committed
crimes on the mainland.

4. (SBU) In 2009, more than 700,000 PRC tourists visited
Taiwan, Ma said, and the number of PRC tourists was expected
to surpass that for Japan in 2010. Ma expressed the hope
that Beijing would allow individual tourist to travel to
Taiwan in the future, since the current policy only allowed
visits in tour groups. Individual tourist travels would
allow more time for travelers to gain a deeper understanding
of Taiwan, Ma reasoned. A large number of PRC students would
also attend universities in Taiwan next year, Ma noted,
commenting that these students would bring back different
perspectives to the mainland and affect future developments
there.

Cross-Strait Confidence Building Measures
-----------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Despite warming economic ties, Ma said, the PRC
military posture across the Strait remained unchanged. PLA
activities in recent months demonstrated that Taiwan may need
to move beyond economic discussions into political
discussions with the mainland. However, Ma noted, Taiwan had
told Beijing it needed to remove the missiles across the
Strait before any such military or security issues could be
discussed.

U.S.-Taiwan Relations
---------------------

6. (SBU) Ma stressed that Taiwan would maintain good
relations with the United States and asked for U.S. support
as he worked to reach a peace agreement with the PRC.
Keating assured President Ma that U.S. policy called for a
credible defense for Taiwan and supported democracy, human
rights, and economic progress. On all of these, he noted,
Taiwan was a beacon of light in the Asia Pacific region.
Keating noted the importance of giving senior U.S. officials
the benefit of first-hand impressions of Taiwan's situation.

PRC Military Development
-------------------------

TAIPEI 00001496 002 OF 002

7. (SBU) Increasingly, Ma commented, Taiwan needed to rely on
its own defense efforts, given the PRC's growing power and
the difficulty of gaining outside support. Consequently, he
said, Taiwan's defense relied on both military means and
soft power. Because Taiwan could not afford to enter into an
arms race with the PRC, it needed to have a viable defense
with an effective deterrence. Taiwan's defense force should
be "Superb, Strong, and Smart," the President said.

8. (SBU) ADM(R) Keating said the U.S. had observed PRC
military improvement in both capabilities and capacities.
PRC computer network attacks, space developments, expanding
reach of PRC submarines, and advanced PRC electronic warfare
capabilities had given the United States cause to question
the PRC's true intentions. The U.S. would like China to be
more transparent and candid about its intentions. Every day,
through the combined efforts of responsible nations in the
region, Keating said, the PRC received the message that it
should not consider the use of force.

U.S. Arms Sales
---------------

9. (SBU) President Ma told ADM(R) Keating that he understood
the U.S. would announce further arms sales to Taiwan in the
next couple of months. U.S. arms sales were very important
to Taiwan, Ma said, noting that he hoped the U.S. would
support procurement of submarines to replace the Taiwan
Navy's four aging submarines, of which two were over 60 years
old. Taiwan's opposition party had accused him of selling
out Taiwan by pursuing ECFA negotiations, Ma said. There
were pitfalls of having a closer relationship with an
authoritarian PRC, the President admitted, but a visible sign
of U.S. support would allow him to rebut the opposition's
charges.

Participants
------------

10. (U) Other Taiwan attendees included National Security
Council Secretary General Dr. Su Chi, Minister of National
Defense Kao Hua-chu, Chief of General Staff, ADM Lin Jan-yi
Executive Deputy of the Deputy Chief of General Staff for
Intelligence, MG Jing Yen-yuan. Other U.S. attendees
included the Director, Mrs. Wandalee Keating, COL Tony Chow,
Chief of LAS Section, Mr. Tony Hu, Deputy Chief of TECH
Section, and LTC Roger Cavazos, Taiwan Desk Officer, USPACOM
J51.
STANTON

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