Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09TAIPEI516
2009-04-30 10:26:00
CONFIDENTIAL
American Institute Taiwan, Taipei
Cable title:  

PRESIDENTIAL CONFIDANTE ON CROSS-STRAIT MOMENTUM,

Tags:  PREL PGOV PINR TW WHO CH 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO3067
PP RUEHCN RUEHGH RUEHVC
DE RUEHIN #0516/01 1201026
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 301026Z APR 09
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1478
INFO RUEHOO/CHINA POSTS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI PRIORITY
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 000516 

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/30/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR TW WHO CH
SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL CONFIDANTE ON CROSS-STRAIT MOMENTUM,
KMT DYNAMICS

REF: A. TAIPEI 510

B. TAIPEI 500

Classified By: The Director for reasons 1.4(b/d)

Summary
-------

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 000516

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/30/2019
TAGS: PREL PGOV PINR TW WHO CH
SUBJECT: PRESIDENTIAL CONFIDANTE ON CROSS-STRAIT MOMENTUM,
KMT DYNAMICS

REF: A. TAIPEI 510

B. TAIPEI 500

Classified By: The Director for reasons 1.4(b/d)

Summary
--------------


1. (C) The announcement that Taiwan will take part in this
year's WHA meeting is part of President Ma's larger effort to
create momentum behind cross-Strait engagement, Taoyuan
county magistrate and presidential confidante Eric Chu told
the Director during an April 29 meeting. This momentum will
continue in May, with Chu leading a Taiwan delegation to a
"grassroots" cross-Strait forum, the WHA meeting in Geneva,
and the next (and, according to Chu, final) KMT-CCP
Cross-Strait Forum. Chu's comments on internal Taiwan
politics suggest that President Ma is as interested in
wresting power from the KMT's "old guard" as he is in fending
off the deeply-divided opposition DPP. End Summary.

WHA Announcement All Part of the Plan
--------------


2. (C) The Director met with Eric Chu, Taoyuan county
magistrate and close confidante of President Ma Ying-jeou,
shortly after the April 29 announcement that WHO Director
General Margaret Chan had invited Taiwan to participate as an
observer in the May 18-27 World Health Assembly meeting in
Geneva (ref A). The great majority of the people on Taiwan
will welcome this decision, Chu said, particularly given the
public concern over the possibility of an H1N1 pandemic.
Diehards in the opposition Democratic Progressive Party (DPP)
will accuse Ma of selling out Taiwan's sovereignty by
agreeing to participate under the name "Chinese Taipei."
Most Taiwanese, though, are now accustomed to that
nomenclature, which is also used at the Olympics, WTO, and
APEC.


3. (C) Taiwan and China reached agreement on Taiwan's WHA
participation several weeks ago, Chu asserted, which
explained why President Ma agreed to hold the third round of
SEF-ARATS talks on April 25-26. Without confidence that a
deal was in place, Chu confirmed, Ma would have been
unwilling to let SEF Chairman P.K. Chiang travel to Nanjing
to meet his PRC counterpart, Chen Yunlin (ref B).


4. (C) The WHA agreement and Chiang-Chen talks are part of a

series of exchanges that will create a sense of momentum
behind cross-Strait relations. This "calendar" includes:

- The January announcement that allowed Taiwan to participate
in the WHO International Health Regulation (IHR) system.

- Former Control Yuan President Fred Chien's meeting with PRC
Premier Wen Jiabao on the margins of the April 17-19 Boao
Forum.

- The April 25-26 SEF-ARATS talks in Nanjing.

- The April 29 announcement on WHA observer status.

- The May 14-17 "Taiwan Strait Forum" (haixia luntan),a
"grassroots" event to be held in three cities in Fujian
province (Xiamen, Fuzhou and Quanzhou). Chu said Ma has
asked him to lead the Taiwan delegation, which will include
business representatives as well as local political officials.

- The May 18-27 WHA session in Geneva.

- In late May, a meeting of the KMT-CCP Forum in Nanjing.
This will be the last such Forum, Chu said, suggesting that
growing quasi-official contacts and the new "Taiwan Strait
Forum" made it unnecessary. Party Chairman Wu Po-hsiung will
lead the KMT delegation, he said, his swan song on
cross-Strait issues as party Chairman.

Easing (or Forcing) Out the KMT Old Guard
--------------


5. (C) Responding to the Director's question about
Legislative Yuan (LY) Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's apparent
dissatisfaction with his lack of influence in cross-Strait
policy, Chu made clear that this was no accident. President
Ma had no obligation beyond simply informing the LY of the
agreements reached during the latest SEF-ARATS, Chu said,

TAIPEI 00000516 002 OF 002


since none involved legislative changes. Wang, he remarked,
"is stuck."


6. (C) More broadly, Chu said, Ma wants to ease out the KMT's
"old guard" - including Wang, Lien Chan, James Soong and Wu
Po-hsiung. Although these influential, canny politicians are
"digging in," Chu said, Ma is confident of success. Already,
Lien Chan has lost his role as Taipei's main interlocutor
with Beijing. Within the KMT, Chu suggested, Ma has decided
to replace Wu as Chairman when Wu's term ends in August.

Planning for Local Elections
--------------


7. (C) Ma and the KMT are considering two options for
restructuring Taiwan's local electoral system ahead of
municipal and county elections set for December. Under the
most likely scenario, Chu said, Taipei county's status would
be elevated to that of a directly-administered municipality
(which Chu suggested would be called "New Taipei City"). If
so, Taipei county will postpone the election now scheduled
for December until next year when, as the newly-constituted
"New Taipei City," it will elect a mayor.

DPP Chair Tsai Unable to Stand Up to Radicals
--------------


8. (C) Although the KMT must deal with its internal factions,
DPP Chair Tsai Ing-wen has a far larger challenge to handle,
Chu said. She is a smart woman and moderate by nature, but
is unable to stand up to the "deep green" radical wing of her
party. As a result, the DPP is being pushed to an extreme
position on cross-Strait relations that is out of step with
mainstream public opinion on Taiwan.


9. (C) Not only does this hurt the party, he suggested, it is
also bad for Tsai. For example, he said, Tsai was pushed by
the "deep greens" to call for an anti-Ma Ying-jeou rally on
May 17. With no real issue to galvanize protestors, the
turnout for this rally will be low, Chu predicted,
embarrassing and weakening Tsai. The Director told Chu we
continue to urge Ma to reach out to Tsai, emphasizing that
there needed to be a genuine dialogue on issues being
addressed between Taipei and Beijing.

Comment
--------------


10. (C) There are sound public policy reasons for Ma to move
away from a cross-Strait dialogue structure that has
depended, up to now, on the KMT-CCP channel. Most obviously,
opposition party members are quick to point out that the KMT
cannot represent their views in such a dialogue. Although Ma
may be motivated, at least in part, by the partisan goal of
gaining a greater control over the KMT "old guard," hopefully
the result will still be a policy more easily sold as one
reflecting the interests of everyone on Taiwan. This cuts
both ways, however. If Ma becomes KMT Chair in August, he
will doubtless be attacked for breaking a campaign pledge not
to do so and open himself to criticism that his loyalties are
divided between duty to party and duty to Taiwan. It is also
possible that Beijing will argue for continuing the KMT-CCP
link, though we see little chance Ma himself could visit
China in his party role while still President of the Republic
of China.
YOUNG