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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
04TAIPEI3797
2004-11-30 08:32:00
CONFIDENTIAL
American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

CHEN RESPONDS PUBLICLY TO USG CONCERNS OVER

Tags:   PREL  PGOV  TW 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 003797 

SIPDIS

STATE PASS AIT/W

E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/10/2013
TAGS: PREL PGOV TW
SUBJECT: CHEN RESPONDS PUBLICLY TO USG CONCERNS OVER
CONSTITUTION

REF: A. TAIPEI 3782


B. TAIPEI 2662

C. TAIPEI 3162

D. TAIPEI 3563

Classified By: AIT Director Douglas Paal, Reason: 1.4 (B/D)



1. (C) Summary: President Chen Shui-bian used an open press
meeting with a group of visiting U.S. Congressmen on November
30 to respond to the State Department Spokesman's warning
over constitutional revisions. Chen stated that there has
been no change to the policy line he articulated in his May
20 inaugural address, October 10 National Day speech, and
November "10 Points" policy statement. Chen noted that the
constitutional referendum he referred to on November 27 is
consistent with the established constitutional processes.
Other Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) officials echoed
this theme in an effort to respond to Pan-Blue
characterizations of the State Department statement as a USG
rebuke to Chen over his recent campaign rhetoric. End
Summary.

Chen Responds to U.S. Comments


--------------------------





2. (C) Presidential Office Deputy Secretary General James
Huang informed the AIT Director that President Chen Shui-bian
used a November 30 press availability to respond to concerns
raised by State Department Spokesman Boucher on November 29
over Chen's recent references to a constitutional referendum.
During an open press meeting with a group of visiting U.S.
Members of Congress, President Chen told reporters that he
will not waver during his last term in office from his May
20, 2004 inaugural promises. Chen stated that Taiwan will
conduct the upcoming round of constitutional revisions within
the bounds of current constitutional procedures. Chen
explained that his recent statement about a constitutional
referendum in 2006 (Ref A) referred to rules established
under the draft set of constitutional provisions passed by
the Legislative Yuan (LY) on August 23, 2004 (Ref B). Chen
added that he will not deviate from his 2000 "five no's
pledge" and the policy platforms laid out in his May 20
inauguration address, October 10 National Address (Ref C),
and November 10 "10 Points" speech (Ref D). (Note: Open
press events are a common feature of presidential meetings
with visiting dignitaries. End Note.)



3. (SBU) Presidential Office Deputy SecGen Huang held a
subsequent press conference to amplify on the president's
remarks and reiterate Taipei's willingness to engage with the
U.S. and other international partners over the constitutional
revision process. In the course of the afternoon, the
Premier, MOFA Spokesman, and DPP party officials echoed the
president's line in their efforts to keep the State
Department statement out of the pre-election media spotlight.
DPP LY Caucus Leader Tsai Huang-lang told reporters that the
DPP would pursue constitutional revisions within the bounds
set by President Chen's "five no's." Tsai also noted that
before constitutional revisions are submitted for approval by
public referendum, they will require prior endorsement by
three-quarters of the LY membership. Tsai and other DPP
officials said they would "communicate" this information to
the U.S. side to clarify apparent "misunderstandings."

Pan-Blue Hails Warning


--------------------------





4. (SBU) Pan-Blue officials quickly claimed that the
Spokesman's remarks vindicated their recent assertions that
Chen is leading Taiwan towards a cross-Strait crisis. KMT
Spokesman Chang Jung-kung characterized the State Department
statement as a serious rebuke to President Chen and an
indication that the USG fears a coming cross-Strait conflict.
People First Party (PFP) LY Caucus Leader Liu Wen-hsiung
told reporters that the USG comments reflected the depth of
problems that have arisen in cross-Strait ties under the Chen
government.

Comment: A Useful Reminder


--------------------------





5. (C) The November 29 Spokesman's comments should serve as a
useful reminder to Taiwan's political actors that the ongoing
LY election campaign is not being conducted in a vacuum.
Insiders may argue that USG public warnings have less direct
impact on the ongoing political campaign as they did during
the presidential race due to the localized nature of LY
elections and the expected low turnout among conservative
centrist voters. Nevertheless, the DPP is eager to portray
itself as the pro-American party -- and portray the
opposition as anti-U.S. -- and thus may take the November 29
statement as a warning that further rebukes will be
forthcoming if Chen does not tone down his rhetoric.
Taipei's quick reaction to the State Department statement
serves as yet another reminder that public, as opposed to
private, warnings are a highly effective means for focusing
minds in Taiwan's media-driven political world.
PAAL