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2005-04-18 10:16:00
American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
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181016Z Apr 05
						C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 001827 



E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/01/2015

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

1. (C) Summary: President Chen Shui-bian and KMT Chairman
Lien Chan used public fora in Taipei and Singapore to trade
another round of public accusations. During an April 16
speech, President Chen asked mockingly if the KMT's upcoming
talks with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) were aimed at
losing Taiwan, just as the last round of KMT-CCP talks in
1945 resulted in the loss of Mainland China. Speaking in
Singapore on April 17, Lien blamed Chen's "populism" for
ruining Taiwan's economy. Despite the mutual recriminations,
neither side has formally rejected some sort of consultations
before Lien's departure. Taiwan's National Security Council
(NSC) believes that Lien will make some sort of report to
Chen before he leaves in order to protect himself from
charges of undermining the government. The NSC assesses that
it is now the KMT, rather than Beijing, that is pushing for a
substantive agreement during Lien's visit. President Chen
has ordered government and ruling party officials to take a
much milder line in reaction to PRC President Hu Jintao's
reported April 18 invitation to People First Party (PFP)
Chairman James Soong. However, Chen administration officials
are not decided on whether to use Soong's visit to convey a
message to PRC interlocutors. End Summary.

Talking to the Enemy


2. (SBU) Despite a call between Presidential Office Secretary
General Yu Shyi-kun and KMT Secretary General Lin Fong-cheng
on April 15, President Chen and KMT Chairman Lien continued
to trade public barbs over the April 16-17 weekend. On April
16, Chen told a group of Rotary members that the last time
the KMT and CCP initialed a formal agreement was 1945, which
resulted four years later in the loss of Mainland China.
Chen asked sarcastically if the KMT was now trying to lose
Taiwan as well. Chen criticized the KMT's position that the
KMT and CCP share a common commitment to "one China,"
asserting that acquiescing to "one China" would mean
accepting Beijing's "one country, two systems" model. During
an April 17 speech in Singapore, Lien responded by accusing
Chen of ruining Taiwan's economy through his "populist"

3. (C) Despite Chen's vitriolic attacks on Lien's loyalties,
the Presidential Office spokesman reiterated on April 18 the
President's willingness to endorse Lien's visit after the two
leaders held discussions. KMT SecGen Lin told reporters on
April 16 that the KMT would consider an offer from
Presidential Office SecGen Yu for Lien to contact Chen by
phone before his departure for the Mainland. However, Yu
aide Lin You-chang told AIT on April 18 that the exchange

between the two Secretaries General was brief and
non-substantive. Lin said that no provisions were made for
further consultations between the two officials. KMT SecGen
Lin departed Taipei on April 18 to Beijing for talks with PRC
counterparts in advance of Lien's upcoming visit.

4. (C) NSC Senior Advisor for cross-Strait affairs Chen
Chung-hsin told AIT that the KMT would likely agree to at
least a phone call between Lien and the President before Lien
departs, if only to protect Lien from Democratic Progressive
Party (DPP) attacks on his loyalty. Chen expressed
confidence, however, that Lien would not sign any formal
agreement with PRC counterparts during his visit. Chen
stated that the NSC's assessment is that it is Beijing, not
the KMT, which is backing away from its initial enthusiasm
over contacts with the KMT. Chen noted a series of recent
PRC public statements appeared to be calibrated to dispel the
impression that Beijing had chosen the KMT as its preferred
conduit. Chen remarked that the government's assessment that
Lien Chan is now more eager than Beijing to achieve a KMT-CCP
"breakthrough" is driving the President to take an even
harder public line against the KMT.

PFP: The Preferred Pan-Blue Party


5. (C) The NSC's Chen told AIT that the President has
instructed government agencies and the DPP to make a clear
distinction between their public treatment of Lien and PFP
Chairman Soong, who received a public invitation from the PRC
to visit on April 18. The PFP immediately accepted the
invitation, extended in the name of President Hu Jintao.
Chen said that the government will use the same basic public
line with Soong as they have towards Lien -- that any party
leader should visit Beijing only after consulting with the
government. However, the Chen administration will use Soong
as a positive example of government-opposition coordination
to contrast with the KMT's example, Chen added. Chen said
that the government has not made a decision yet whether to
use Soong as a conduit to convey any messages to Beijing.

Comment: Continued Friction


6. (C) With the Chen administration calculating that Lien
will eventually acquiesce to call the President and that
Beijing will not sign any formal accord with the KMT,
President Chen appears to feel little need to moderate his
public criticism of Lien Chan. Even if the President's
assessment over Lien's visit is accurate, the increasingly
bitter public recrimination being traded between the two
sides will likely spill over and poison other DPP-KMT
contacts. Among other things, we expect that they will make
it harder to resume normal operations in the Legislative Yuan
(LY). AIT will continue to remind leaders on both sides of
the need to maintain at least a modicum of civility in order
to advance Taiwan's broader legislative objectives after the
Lien visit has concluded.