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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
05TAIPEI1753
2005-04-12 10:47:00
CONFIDENTIAL
American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

CHINA WATCHERS' VIEWS ON KMT-CCP MEETING

Tags:   PGOV  PREL  TW 
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						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001753 

SIPDIS

STATE PASS AIT/W

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/12/2015
TAGS: PGOV PREL TW
SUBJECT: CHINA WATCHERS' VIEWS ON KMT-CCP MEETING

REF: A. TAIPEI 01436

B. TAIPEI 01724

C. TAIPEI 01572

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



1. (C) Summary: Senior China Watchers and former Taiwan
government officials met with AIT on April 8 to discuss the
late March KMT-CCP meeting and "Ten-point consensus."
Despite the range of political views held by the academics --
from deep blue to medium green -- the China Watchers agreed
that since March 2004 the CCP has been carrying out a new
approach to cross-Strait relations. They also concurred that
Taiwan's fragmented domestic politics was hindering progress
toward a uniform Taiwan cross-Strait policy and that
collaboration between the DPP and the KMT would remain
essential but elusive. The China Watchers could not imagine
a scenario where either the DPP or the KMT would be willing
to compromise on what has become a highly partisan issue in
order to achieve inter-party cooperation on cross-Strait
issues. The PRC's new strategy and the bleak outlook for
inter-party dialogue in Taiwan on cross-Strait policy pose a
difficult challenge for President Chen and his plans for
cross-Strait engagement.



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


PRC Translating Ideas into Action


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





2. (C) A group of Taiwan's senior China Watchers told AIT on
April 8 that Beijing's cross-Strait policy over the past
month, exemplified by the passage of the Anti-Secession Law
and the KMT-CCP meeting and "Ten-point consensus,"
represented a new approach. Professor Lin Chung-pin of
Tamkang University, a former Mainland Affairs Council (MAC)
Vice Chair and Deputy Defense Minister, described the change
as more sophisticated and complex, but not necessarily more
moderate than the previous policy. The other academics
concurred with this assessment, using the analogy of the game
Weiqi (Go) to illustrate how the PRC had skillfully
surrounded and increased pressure on Taipei, especially on
the diplomatic and political fronts. The academics agreed
that PRC cross-Strait policy was changing and that Beijing,
which had previously implemented its policy in the shadows,
now had brought its intentions and actions into the open.



3. (C) The China Watchers agreed that PRC President Hu
Jintao was a central figure in the new policy formulation and
implementation, but disagreed on the degree of control he
exercised. Professor Lin Chung-pin argued that Beijing's new
approach represented a victory by Hu over the more hard-line
factions within the CCP and the PLA. The PLA, he added, had
become a minor player in cross-Strait relations, as its own
internal issues and quest for modernization dominated its
agenda. Conversely, National Taiwan University professor
(and former Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman) Chen

Ming-tong saw bureaucratic politics, rather than Hu's
leadership, as the driving force behind the Anti-Secession
Law.



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



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


The KMT-CCP Agreement: Driving a Wedge into Taipei Politics


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



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





4. (C) The academics concurred that the KMT visit to the
PRC and the "Ten-point consensus" had exacerbated problems
between the DPP and KMT. The PRC, they concluded, had
effectively driven a wedge between the parties. They also
agreed that Taiwan political parties should refrain from
driving the wedge in further. The DPP threat to pursue
formal legal action against KMT delegation leader P.K. Chiang
was one action, they asserted, that could worsen inter-party
relations. Professor Alex Huang, Senior Vice President of
the Foundation on International and Cross-Strait Studies and
former MAC Vice Chair, told AIT that the DPP conflict with
the KMT over the visit was "political, not legal" and that it
was important to resolve political differences without
involving lawsuits. Even without legal action, the proposed
visit to the PRC by KMT Chairman Lien Chan also could drive
the wedge deeper. Professor Chen Ming-tong said that if
Chairman Lien goes to the PRC and formally signs the March 30
"Ten-point consensus," along with a framework for peaceful
engagement and a confidence building measure (CBM) agreement,
this could worsen the political situation in Taiwan. Chen
repeated a concern raised by other DPP officials to AIT, that
a KMT presidential victory in 2008 would further complicate
the situation because, from their viewpoint, it would
undermine Taiwan's security as the CCP and KMT moved to
implement the agreement.



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


Creating Challenges for President Chen


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





5. (C) The China Watchers told AIT that the current PRC
cross-Strait policy and the widening chasm between DPP and
KMT poses difficult challenges for President Chen and his
plans for cross-Strait engagement. There was a consensus
among the academics that President Chen needs inter-party
cooperation on cross-Strait issues, but disagreement about
how to accomplish this. Professor Lin Bih-jaw, a
Blue-leaning specialist on diplomacy, argued that the most
important thing for Taiwan politics is to "form a true
coalition", with which his colleagues agreed. The question
remained, however, how such a coalition might be formed -- to
which none of the academics had an answer. When AIT pressed
the issue, remarking that politics is painful and that
sometimes compromise is necessary to achieve the greater
good, the China Watchers indicated that compromise is
unlikely and that it would be difficult for the two political
parties to set aside partisan differences for the greater
good in the current heated political situation.



6. (C) The academics were also pessimistic on prospects
that the two voices of moderation, Premier Frank Hsieh and
KMT Vice Chairman P.K. Chiang, could facilitate inter-party
dialogue. Professor Chen Ming-tong told AIT that, despite
the media photographs of Hsieh and Chiang shaking hands,
there is "no prospect" for such cross-partisan cooperation,
nor for a meeting between President Chen and KMT Chairman
Lien Chan. The PRC's wedge policy and the deep differences
and suspicions among Taiwan's political parties, the China
Watchers agreed, have left Chen with limited means for fixing
the domestic political situation and for building a viable
and sustainable cross-Strait policy.



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


Comment: A Light But No Tunnel


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





7. (C) Chen's original hope that the March 26 rally would
bring closure to the Anti-Secession Law has been set back, at
least among politically active circles, by the CCP-KMT
meeting and "Ten-point consensus," although the public mood
appears to remain disinterested. Senior government officials
told AIT that Chen would probably wait until after the May 14
National Assembly elections and the proposed Lien Chan visit
to the PRC before initiating his plans for economic
liberalization. (See Reftels). On April 11, President Chen
repeated his April 9 offer to endorse Lien's visit if the KMT
Chairman would first consult with Chen, softening somewhat
the tone of his previous statement. Lien, however, has
continued to reject this gesture as "insincere." While
President Chen apparently still wants to move forward with
his original agenda, his ability to implement this plan has
been complicated greatly, if not derailed, by the PRC and the
KMT.
PAAL