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2004-10-10 07:39:00
American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
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This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 003162 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/10/2013

Classified By: AIT Deputy Director David J. Keegan, Reason: 1.4 (B/D)

1. (C) Summary: President Chen Shui-bian used his October 10
National Day speech to send conciliatory messages to Beijing
and opposition supporters in Taiwan. Chen reiterated a
number of cross-Strait related themes from his May 20
inaugural address and proposed restarting dialogue with
Beijing "on the basis of the 1992 meeting in Hong Kong."
Chen's positive overtures on dialogue, enhanced trade
relations, and a reduction of military tensions were tempered
by his warning that the "forces of darkness" across the
Taiwan Strait have aimed more than 600 missiles at Taiwan.
He then used that warning to call for strengthening
self-defense. Chen also made a strong pitch for Taiwan's
entry into the United Nations and other international fora,
blaming PRC diplomatic pressure for pushing Taiwan's people
further away from the Mainland. On the domestic front, Chen
appealed for ethnic harmony and political unity. Chen barely
mentioned plans for constitutional revision after the
December Legislative Yuan (LY) elections. End Summary.

May 20, Part II


2. (SBU) President Chen Shui-bian's October 10 National Day
speech mixed conciliatory gestures to Beijing and opposition
parties with appeals to Taiwan pride and calls for
international recognition. Almost a third of the speech
related to the future of cross-Strait relations. Chen
reiterated a number of his May 20 inaugural themes, including
his commitment not to rule out any form of future political
relationship between the "ROC and PRC or China and Taiwan."
He also emphasized that he would not deviate from his May 20
commitments during his term in office. Chen announced that
he would convene his proposed Committee for Cross-Strait
Peace and Stability after the December LY election and
include leaders from all political parties. He also restated
post-election plans to move forward on the "constitutional
reform project" and other "national policy issues that are of
vital importance to the people."

Overtures: The 1992 Formula and Direct Links


3. (SBU) Chen asserted that recent leadership changes in PRC
offered a new opportunity for progress in cross-Strait
relations. Targeting this new leadership, Chen invited the
PRC to restart dialogue with Taiwan "on the basis of the 1992
meeting in Hong Kong." This was the most explicit
endorsement he has yet given to the formula used to
facilitate cross-Strait dialogue in 1992, when both sides in
effect agreed not to challenge the other's definition of "one
China." Chen characterized the 1992 arrangement as "not
necessarily perfect but acceptable" as a framework for future


4. (SBU) Chen's speech also suggested specific areas for
possible cooperation, including direct cross-Strait passenger
and cargo charter flights. Chen put the charter flight
proposal in the context of an emerging new economic
relationship between the two sides that will take advantage
of a "division of labor in the global supply chain." Chen
also called on the two sides to reduce military tensions
across the Strait. Noting his own decision to cancel
September "Han-kuang" military exercises, Chen stated that if
the two sides could exercise self-restraint in the near term,
it would pave the way for future discussions on terminating
the current state of hostilities. Chen said that negotiation
of a "Code of Conduct across the Taiwan Strait" should be set
as the long-term goal for both sides.

Warnings: Sha Zukang and other "Forces of Darkness"



5. (SBU) Chen's offer for dialogue with the new leadership in
Beijing was tempered by strong warnings over the threat of
PRC diplomatic and military intimidation. Chen disputed the
PRC's claim to represent Taiwan in the United Nations and
stated that Beijing's diplomatic pressure was driving the
people on the two sides of the Strait further apart. Without
citing PRC Ambassador to Geneva Sha Zukang by name, Chen
recited Sha's well-known "nobody cares about you" insult to
Taiwan reporters after Taipei's failed 2003 bid for World
Health Organization (WHO) observership to illustrate the
Beijing's "flagrant attitude."

6. (SBU) To reinforce the need for upgrading Taiwan's
self-defense capabilities, Chen also warned his people about
the dangers posed by the "forces of darkness" across the
Strait. Chen said the 600 ballistic missiles pointed at
Taiwan represented a "shadow of terror" that neither Taiwan
nor the international community could afford to ignore. Chen
added that these "forces of darkness" and "shadows of terror"
threatened both the peaceful status quo in the Taiwan Strait
and the security of the region and the world.

Domestic Appeal: "The Republic of China Is Taiwan"



7. (SBU) Chen declared that the "Republic of China is Taiwan,
and Taiwan is the Republic of China" in the context of a
domestic appeal for unity. Chen told the audience that it
did not matter whether an individual identifies with "Taiwan
or the Republic of China, per se, any such professed
expression of national identity is a testament to one's
loyalty to this country." Chen promised that he and his
party would make a candid self-reflection on the issue of
identity and ethnicity. At the same time, he urged others
not to dwell upon the "victory or defeat of each election"
and instead seize new opportunities for rebuilding solidarity.

Comment: Something for Everybody


8. (C) Chen's speech addressed a wide range of often
contradictory themes and audiences. His references to the
"1992 Hong Kong" formula and reducing military tensions were
clearly meant to be the headliners for Beijing. At the same
time, Chen's warning about the growing PRC military threat
was calibrated to strengthen the government's case for early
LY action on the USD 18 billion special defense procurement
budget. Similarly, Chen's appeals to Taiwan pride and
greater international recognition likely targeted his own
base, while his focus on the "ROC" and ethnic unity aimed at
opposition supporters. Rhetoric about the "forces of
darkness" notwithstanding, Chen's 1992 formula should offer
Beijing some opening to respond positively, if and when it
chooses to do so. Officials in Taipei tell us they will wait
for Beijing's response before deciding on further possible
concessions to get around the "one China" deadlock.