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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
07TAIPEI892 2007-04-23 08:35:00 CONFIDENTIAL American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

MA YING-JEOU OVER DINNER: HIS COURT CASE,

Tags:   PGOV PREL MARR MASS MCAP PINR CH TW 
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 000892 

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E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/23/2017
TAGS: PGOV PREL MARR MASS MCAP PINR CH TW
SUBJECT: MA YING-JEOU OVER DINNER: HIS COURT CASE,
PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, CROSS-STRAIT VIEWS


Classified By: AIT director Stephen M. Young. Reason(s):
1.4 (B/D)



1. (C) Summary. In a private dinner with the Director on
April 18, KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou betrayed
frustration over his corruption trial, but expressed
confidence that he would be found innocent. He predicted
that President Chen would continue pushing ethnic and other
deep-Green issues right down to the March 2008 presidential
election. He also offered little hope of an early resolution
to the defense budget stalemate in the Legislative Yuan (LY).
With this invitation, the usually formal and distant Ma was
apparently trying to reach out and establish a more personal
relationship with the U.S. in the run-up to next year's
presidential election. End Summary.



2. (C) KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou invited the
Director to a private dinner on April 18. Two of Ma's
closest advisors, KMT legislator Su Chi and former Taiwan
Ambassador to Dominican Republic John Feng (Chi-t'ai)
accompanied him. The Director was accompanied by Deputy
Director and Political Chief.

A Quiet Start


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





3. (C) Sitting down to dinner, Ma appeared somewhat down and
preoccupied. Noting that Ma's second court hearing (on
charges of misusing his Taipei mayoral budget) the previous
day must not have been pleasant for him, the Director asked
how the case was proceeding. Ma scowled and said the whole
experience had been unpleasant, "a terrible burden."
Nevertheless, continued a visibly weary Ma, "I think I will
be freed."

President Chen to Keep Pushing


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





4. (C) Ma predicted President Chen Shui-bian would continue
pushing the deep-Green (pro-independence) themes he has
raised in recent weeks -- name changes, attacking former
President Chiang Kai-shek and mainland Chinese, and
constitutional reform. These different facets of the ethnic
card are intended, Su Chi stated, both to roil the KMT and
keep it off balance, and distract attention from the DPP
government's failed economic policy.



5. (C) The anti-Chiang attacks had been particularly
difficult for the KMT to deal with, Ma said, explaining that
he had sought to counter by urging Taiwan voters not to play
ethnic politics in the upcoming elections. Ma then launched
into a long, detailed defense of President Chiang Kai-shek.
While Chiang had made his share of mistakes, he was not
responsible for the February 28, 1947 incident. Chiang,
moreover had made major contributions to Taiwan, including:
saving Taiwan from Communist takeover in 1949, import
substitution/export oriented model of economic development,
local elections and land reform -- the last two unprecedented
in Chinese history.

No Defense Budget in Sight


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





6. (C) Even though Su Chi's three-year prohibition on buying
PAC-III's expired on March 20, he told the Director that he
still has "a problem" with purchasing PAC-III missiles.
KMT's pan-Blue coalition partner, People First Party (PFP)
continued adamantly opposed to PAC-III purchase, he
explained. In any event, Su continued, there was no sign of
movement in the Legislative Yuan (LY) on the stalemate
between the defense budget and the Central Election
Commission issue.



7. (C) Ma weighed in, explaining that the PFP was critical
to the pan-Blue coalition's legislative majority, so the KMT
could not afford to offend the PFP. The Director rejoined
that missile defense is crucial for Taiwan in order to
demonstrate Taiwan's defense resolve to both the PRC and the
Taiwan people. Ma the lawyer, he enjoined, should not depend

TAIPEI 00000892 002 OF 002


for legal advice on "my old friend Su, a political
scientist."

If Ma Becomes President


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





8. (C) Other points Ma Ying-jeou made to the Director in the
course of the dinner discussion included:

-- Cross-Party cooperation: If he wins the presidency and
the KMT wins the LY, Ma said, he intends to pursue a
cooperative policy with the opposition DPP. This is just
what he had done in the 1980's when he was KMT Deputy
Secretary-General, he explained, and met with Taiwan

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dissidents on each visit to the U.S.

-- Cross-Strait relations: Lien Chan's current visit to
China is his own initiative, Ma and Su intimated. Ma noted,
however, that the trip could produce important economic
benefits for Taiwan and improve relations. It would be good
if Wang Jin-pyng could visit China in May, Ma said, since
Wang is President of the LY. Ma himself has no plans to
visit China before the presidential election because he is
"too busy." (Comment: A more fundamental reason might be to
avoid the anti-mainlander ethnic attacks such a visit would
inevitably engender back here. End Comment.)



9. (C) Su Chi told the Director that he has two fears
concerning the presidential election. First, President
Chen's continued challenges could destabilize cross-Strait
relations, raise tensions and even cause an incident.
Second, he feared that an attempt could be made to
assassinate Ma Ying-jeou, although there isn't much they can
do about it. (Coment: The apparent arson-caused destruction
of President Chiang's Yangmingshan weekend retreat two weeks
ago has upset the KMT and raised its suspicions. In any
event, KMT distrust of President Chen and the DPP runs
extremely deep, as does the reverse. End Comment.)

Comment: Making Bonhomie


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





10. (C) This dinner was an unusual setting for a meeting
with Ma, who tends to hold his meetings in the more
traditionally formal Chinese setting of overstuffed chairs
arrayed along one wall of a large meeting room conducive to
keeping schedules and business-like discussions. A
charismatic politician, both telegenic and personable via the
media, Ma in person is often distant and ill-at-ease. We
view this private and more relaxed setting as an effort by Ma
to reach out to the Director and to the U.S., in order to
establish a more personal relationship.
YOUNG