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Office of Research Issue Focus Foreign Media Reaction

June 13, 2005

CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS: MAINLAND VISITS CREATE DILEMMA FOR CHEN

KEY FINDINGS

**  Taiwan dailies call KMT and PFP heads "Taiwan sell-outs" and "door-openers" after visits.

**  Dailies say U.S. now has to compete with China to "define the status quo in Taiwan Strait." 

**  Taiwan President Chen must make the "historic" choice of whether to visit mainland.

**  Taiwan papers criticize China for "washing away goodwill" by again blocking WHO bid.

MAJOR THEMES

'Hu, Lien, Soong join forces to constrain Taiwan'-- Taiwan's pro-independence Liberty Times viewed KMT chair Lien and PFP chair Soong's trips to the mainland as inciting a "China Fever" which threatens to both "undermine anti-communist sentiment" in Taiwan and "jeopardize the foundation of Taiwan’s democracy."  However, mainland dailies argued that the visits by opposition leaders Soong and Lien helped "build a bridge for cross-strait negotiations" by providing Chen an opportunity to communicate personally with Beijing.  Commentators in Taiwan responded, "The bridge built by [Lien and Soong] leads to surrender," adding that Lien and Soong are now Chinese President Hu Jintao's "proxies" in Taiwan, and are helping to undermine the arms-procurement bill.

'U.S. loses leading role in Taiwan Strait'--  Editorials criticized the U.S. for not seeing the importance of the meetings President Hu Jintao held with both Lien and Soong.  According to the pro-independence Taipei Times, "The U.S. should have insisted that the process be peaceful and cautioned that its results conform to the wishes of the Taiwanese people."  If it had done so, the paper added, "Washington would...define the bottom line, and have some control over how the situation develops."  Pro-independence Taiwan Daily concluded "The United States has lost its leading role in the Taiwan Strait."

'At a crossroads'-- Chen is at a juncture that will lead him either in or out of the "history books," according to Asian dailies.  Chen has to decide "whether to risk war, seek peace or to procrastinate," according to the Taipei Times, and must determine if he will seek a meeting with Hu in a third country or not.  Pro-independence and pro-unification dailies in Taiwan and mainland dailies united to urge the U.S. to offer itself as a mediator and host for a meeting between presidents Chen and Hu.

'WHO bows before China, again'-- Taiwan dailies labeled China "outrageous" after the PRC blocked Taiwan's bid to join the World Health Organization for the 9th straight year.  Editorials called China "relentless in its move to thwart Taiwan’s space in the international community;" they said the "euphoria generated by the Lien-Soong visits," which gave Taiwan "higher hopes" this year, had been dashed by China's WHO move.  The conservative China Post suggested China allow Taiwan to use the name "Chinese-Taipei" to join the WHO. "After all," it noted, "this is the formula under which Taiwan joined the World Trade Organization, the International Olympic Committee, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum."

Prepared by Media Reaction Branch (202) 203-7888, rmrmail@state.gov

EDITOR: Louis S. Dennig IV

EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment.  Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion.  Some commentary is taken direction from the Internet.  This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government.  This analysis was based on 78 reports from 7 political entities over 9 May - 9 June, 2005.  Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.

EUROPE

GERMANY: "Reunification"

In center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Peter Sturm commented (5/13):  "Beijing keeps talking about the aim of a peaceful reunification with Taiwan.  A peaceful policy toward Taiwan deserves praise, but if China really wanted that it would not have approved the anti-secession law, which threatens Taiwan militarily.  Why do they actually keep the issue of reunification on the agenda so stubbornly?  It is not foreseeable that the Taiwanese want to be reunited with the People's Republic.  Even the opposition politicians who recently visited Beijing have not said.  Beijing should respect this."

"Beijing's Panda-Diplomacy"

Business daily Financial Times Deutschland of Hamburg  editorialized (5/10):  "China's leaders have apparently opened a new chapter in the book of panda-diplomacy.  After the visit of the Taiwanese opposition leader, Lien Chan, in China last week, Beijing wants to give its 'follow citizens' a couple of the endangered animals.  Beijing refines the visit of a former archenemy. However, the hopes that the supposed gesture of reconciliation could lead to a thaw in the tense relations come too early….  The panda-diplomacy rather looks like a maneuver.  Good will is expressed to the outer world, but the policy intends to cut off Chen and his striving for independence.  Taiwan will elect a national assembly on Saturday, which will decide about referenda on the constitution, and with that about Taiwan's future status.  Chen was right to accuse Beijing of interfering in the elections.  Beijing has set very clear parameters, from which it does not deviate.  That is not diplomacy."

EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC

CHINA:  "Lien-Soong mainland visits bring about three changes in cross-strait relations"

Official Communist party People's Daily opined (5/30):  "First is the change of cross-Strait political relations from long-term hesitation and obscurity to the stage of seeking common ground while reserving differences and engaging in communication and dialog. Lien Chan and James Soong Chu-yu attracted the eyes of the Island and the whole world as they set foot on the mainland, opened the door to cross-Strait political communication and enabled people to see with their own eyes and feel the possibility for communication, communication contains many advantages.....  Second is the change of cross-Strait united front against "independence", which has been in operation for many years, from covert and contraction to the expanding stage of manifestation and stability. It contains a both open and rational pattern -- interaction between political parties and substantive contents.... The two communiques are open and transparent, they both connect the bonds of consensus and mutual trust between the KMT and the CPC, between the PFP and the CPC, and between the KMT and the PFP, and open an unimpeded channel for this united front.....  Third is the change of the green and blue camps in a state of "one falling and the other rising" in terms of their condition of survival and dominant power over popular will. It must be admitted that the stability and growth in strength of the blue camp in the Island has a direct bearing on the role of the "mainland card" in the Island, and bears on the future of cross-Strait relations.

“Pentagon Exaggerates China’s Military Expenses”

In the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times Li Xuanliang commented (5/23):  “The Pentagon exaggerates China’s military expenses, and has strong political and economic interests to do the same, they are:  First, by exaggerating China’s military expenditures, the U.S. military can garner a greater share of funding; Second, exaggeration of military expenditures gives the U.S. government a better excuse to oppose the EU’s proposed lifting of an arms embargo against China, and promote public sentiment for more arms sales to Taiwan.”

“New Thinking Guides Cross-Straits Relations”

The official English-language newspaper China Daily commented (5/16):  “As the fruitful achievements of the back-to-back visits of Lien and Soong have shown, the CPC and the two Taiwanese opposition parties have successfully laid the groundwork for pushing forward cross-Straits ties.... But we should also be wary of the desperate fight by diehard secessionist forces who are still attempting to trigger confrontation and hostility between Taiwan and the mainland....  Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian and his pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) administration have completely rejected all the offers from the mainland while criticizing the visits by Lien and Soong. Such a politically-motivated move has clearly signaled the strong ideology and outdated mentality of the ruling DPP, which puts the party's self-interests before the well-being of the Taiwanese people....  At a critical time in cross-Straits relations, Chen and his administration are faced with a severe choice: either follow the will of the people to promote a peaceful, stable and win-win situation in the Straits ties, or go against it, leading to sustained tension and volatile turbulence across the Straits.”

“The U.S. Wants To Control The Taiwan Straits Situation”

In the China Radio International sponsored newspaper World News Journal Zhang Zhixin commented (5/13):  “Recently U.S. officials have made many comments about Lien and Soong’s visits to Mainland.  Their comments reveal the U.S. still wants to control how the situation in the Taiwan Straits develops.  The U.S. appears unwilling to lose its strong grip on the Taiwan situation, especially if it would affect U.S. interests.  Former U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig claims that Lien and Soong’s visits are beneficial for the U.S., China and Taiwan, and that backing-off ‘using Taiwan to contain China’ will fit U.S. interests and benefit Chinese people across the Straits.”

“When Will Chen Shuibian Come To The Mainland?”

In Elite Reference a paper affiliated with the official Communist Youth League China Youth Daily Huang Zhihui editorialized (5/11): "The change in the Taiwan Strait situation caused by Lien and Soong’s visits to the Mainland has forced Chen Shuibian to respond.  The next couple months will be critical for Chen Shuibian....  The U.S. hopes Chen Shuibian will begin a dialogue with the Mainland.  Chen and the U.S. seem to have a tacit agreement on Lien and Soong’s visit.  If Kuomintang (KMT) and People’s First Party (PFP) get too close to the Mainland, U.S. strategic interests may be threatened.  Thus the U.S. supports dialogue between governments to help the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) regain dominant power in Taiwan....  Singapore media point out that Beijing will require Chen to meet three conditions before he will be invited to visit the Mainland, they are:  (1) DPP acknowledges legitimacy of 1992 Consensus; (2) DPP gives up its Taiwan independence platform; and (3) DPP stops its separatist activities.”

“What Steps Will Chen Shuibian Take Next?  Repeatedly Changes Stance On Lien And Soong’s Visits To Mainland - U.S. Scholar Says No Surprise That Cross-Strait Relations Have Made Surprising Progress”

In the China Radio International sponsored newspaper World News Journal Lin Hai commented (5/10):  “The Taiwanese public has expressed strong support for Lien Chan and Kuomintang Party (KMT).  Conversely, Chen Shuibian and his Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) have experienced a drop in support.  Recently Chen Shuibian made a sudden change in his position on the visits of Lien and Soong.  The positive attitude of the U.S. on the Lien and Soong visits is an invisible pressure on Chen Shuibian and DPP.....  DPP cross-Straits policy in the future will probably move closer to a ‘mutual stance’ with the Mainland, but it likely will hold on to its Taiwan independence leanings.  When Chen Shuibian says something about cross-Strait peace, he will always follow it up with something provocative towards the Mainland.  Such political posturing of ‘one step forward, two steps back’ is the main reason why distrust across the Strait has grown larger.”

"'Mainland Fever' Reflects True Feelings Of Taiwan People"

In the official Xinhua Tian Sulei editorialized (5/13):  Following the mainland visits of two opposition party leaders Lien Chan and James C.Y. Soong, a "mainland fever" has swept Taiwan as public interest and affinity for the mainland are rising rapidly. It reflects the true feelings of Taiwan people, who desire peace, stability and fraternity with their mainland compatriots....  In spite of all the tricks of the DPP, "Taiwan independence" has never been the mainstream thought in Taiwan, as is indicated by the legislative seats....  All mainland people have profound affection for Taiwan and Taiwan people, sincerely regarding Taiwan people as their compatriots and showing every concern to people from the island.  As the mainland takes vigorous moves to strengthen bonds across the 150-km-wide Taiwan Straits, responsible politicians in Taiwan should ponder their roles. Good politicians work for the good of the general public, not a single party.  The mainland has shown its sincerity and generosity in improving cross-Straits relations. It has offered wider access to farm produce from Taiwan, which faces sales difficulty, shown flexibility in promoting cross-Straits "three direct links" and offered many other benefits to Taiwan people.  It is clear that both sides of the Taiwan Straits will benefit from reunification and cooperation. Both sides will suffer from separation. Taiwan has nothing to lose but everything to gain as part of China, which enjoys increasingly high status and prestige in the world.

"Sentiments And Significance Of Soong Chu-yu's Mainland Trip"

The official Communist party People's Daily overseas edition editorialized (5/12):  "[People First Party Chairman James] Soong Chu-yu's move to conquer all obstacles on the island to promote the improvement of cross-strait relations and to launch the mainland trip [from 5 to 12 May] has also touched the masses on the mainland, and made an extremely deep impression on the people... From the depth of Soong Chu-yu's emotions on cross-strait relations, the carefulness of his intentions and the greatness of his hard work, his trip can find the 'key to open the cross-strait relations deadlock' together with CCP leaders."

CHINA (HONG KONG SAR):  "Act According To The Law"

Independent Hong Kong Economic Journal noted (6/2):  "Overseas compatriots will only be convinced if there is sufficient evidence and the mainland follows the law strictly.  In recent years, the mainland has made huge progress in many areas, but its democracy and the rule of law are at a standstill.  We think that the Ching Cheong case does not only affect an individual's honor or disgrace, but is a test to see if the mainland, under the new ideologies of rule of law and the creation of a harmonious society, can abandon its former practice of declaring people guilty at will....  Only countries with many enemies or that are domineering will worry about spies in their midst.  It is obvious that China is not in such a stage.  One of the conjectures is that Ching Cheong is spying for Taiwan.  Unless this is about core defense secrets, what intelligence could one uncover, given the current frequent contacts between the two sides of the Taiwan Strait, with information flowing so freely?  The Chinese authority has not yet processed the case.  We hope China will not deal with patriots as spies."

"Peace In Our Time"

In the independent English-language South China Morning Post Frank Ching wrote  (5/17):  "There has been much speculation that Mr. Chen could turn out to be Taiwan's Richard Nixon by seeking a breakthrough with the mainland.  He may well wish to leave his mark on history by hammering out an agreement that will guarantee many years of peace.  In fact, Mr. Chen might wish to make use of the communiqué issued by Mr. Hu and Mr. Soong.  The most important provision declares that 'as long as there is not any likelihood for Taiwan to head towards "Taiwan independence," a military clash in the Taiwan Strait can be effectively avoided....'  Both sides recognize that unification, if it were to happen, would only take place in the very distant future.  What needs doing now is to create conditions under which peace can be perpetuated, perhaps for as long as two generations.  At the end of that period, who knows what the world will be like?  If the leaders of this generation have the wisdom to agree on peace for a few decades, future leaders will hopefully have the wisdom to prolong or even perpetuate that peace.  That is all we can hope for at this time."

"Two Sides, One China"

On the English-language page, the Independent Ming Pao Daily News editorialized (5/14):  "In the joint communique issued yesterday in the wake of the Hu-Soong meeting, the "1992 consensus" was for the first time formulated in explicit terms, though "two sides, one China" was equated to it. That seems a move to make it possible for Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian (who has denied the existence of the "1992 consensus") to have talks with mainland leaders.... [Bian] ought to embrace the new "two sides, one China" idea the CPC and the PFP have devised for his sake if he is truly keen on maintaining lasting cross-strait peace....  Yesterday, Mr Hu and Mr Soong agreed on an important point about the two parties' cooperation in pursuance of cross-strait peace — that cross-strait military conflicts can be effectively averted as long as Taiwan is not oriented towards any situation that may possibly lead to taidu (Taiwan independence)....  The mainland has virtually acknowledged the maintenance of the status quo is a necessary condition for cross-strait peace. No war will break out between the two sides unless Taiwan declares independence....  A positive result Mr Lien and Mr Soong have achieved through their mainland visits is that they have enabled mainland leaders to gain first-hand knowledge of Taiwan's political ecology and find out how public opinion trends on the island....  They have also informed them of Taiwanese people's genuine craving for cross-strait common development and their many real needs in their lives and economic activities....  The mainland should...  find out more about Taiwanese people's wishes, help them to overcome the difficulty of being restricted in their international activities and try to meet their needs in their lives and economic activities....  Such follow-ups would win it many hearts in Taiwan and have significant bearing on how cross-trait relations would develop.

"Chen's Next Move Will Determine His Legacy"

The independent English-language South China Morning Post said (5/14):  "The trip by Taiwanese opposition leader James Soong Chu-yu to the mainland raised unusually high hopes of a breakthrough in cross-strait relations.  Sadly, this has not been delivered.  But give it time.  It will take longer than nine days to find a solution....  Mr. Chen's plans to move Taiwan much closer to independence by making big constitutional changes were dealt a heavy blow by the DPP's defeat in legislative elections last year.  A poor showing in the polls today might be enough to convince Mr. Chen that he has little option but to embrace the process of reconciliation.  He will be thinking about his legacy.  That could be a defeat for the DPP in the 2008 presidential election, if public support for ties with the mainland grows and the party chooses to resist it.  Mr. Chen could, alternatively, preside over at least the beginning of moves towards a historic breakthrough in cross-strait relations.  Mr. Soong's trip holds out some hope that it might be the latter."

Will Ah Bian 'Land In The Mainland' Soon?"

Independent Hong Kong Economic Journal noted (5/13):  "The fast knot of cross-strait affairs' cooperation and exchanges lies in political differences and not in technical details.  As long as the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) is willing to 'change course' and accept the three principles of the Chinese Communist Party, cross-strait cooperation and the three links can all come true overnight.  However, the reality is not like this.  Chen Shui-bian and the DPP are not willing to nor is it easy for them to 'change course.'  This is not purely a perseverance of political ideology.  All factions in the DPP have a consensus on Taiwan's China policy.  Chen Shui-bian is checked by factions in the DPP.  Thus, he cannot causally make breakthroughs in his China policy; otherwise, he may not be able to maintain his political status....  All in all, 'Taiwan independence' is the basic belief of Chen Shui-bian and the DPP.  We can hardly believe that Chen Shui-bian will accept the three conditions offered by the Chinese Communist Party.  Unless there is a sudden change in the situation, Ah Bian's 'landing in the mainland' following Lien Chan and James Soong will not happen in the foreseeable future."

"Hu And Soong Build The Bridge"

Independent Hong Kong Economic Times commented (5/13):  "The Chinese Communist Party Secretary General Hu Jintao yesterday met with the People First Party Chairman James Soong to further show China's goodwill to Taiwanese people and to build a bridge for cross-strait negotiations.  How fast can cross-strait relations develop peacefully will depend on whether Chen Shui-bian will move onto the bridge, for which U.S. attitude will be a crucial factor....  U.S. President Bush talked to Hu Jintao over the phone last Thursday night to push for direct dialogue between Beijing and Chen Shui-bian.  As long as there is direct dialogue, the U.S. can slow down the pace of both sides across the strait to move toward peace and unification through controlling Chen Shui-bian.  Last night Chen Shui-bian showed a tough stance on the Hu-Soong meeting, which may largely be due to U.S. backing.  After Hu Jintao successfully met with Lien Chan and James Soong, he has twisted China's passive position in the cross-strait relations.  However, the irresistible trend of cross-strait reconciliation has touched the critical barrier.  Whether the attitude of the U.S. will be changed to support cross-strait peaceful unification will determine the pace of future cross-strait negotiations."

"Should Open Up A Communication Door For Chen Shui-bian"

Mass circulation Apple Daily News remarked (5/13):  "We hope that the 6-point consensus between the two sides across the strait will not just be a piece of paper but will become substantial policies.  However, the crucial factor to turn the 6-point consensus into real policies hinges on the Taiwanese government and the ruling DPP....  The Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party must extend their friendly hands and open the communication door to the DPP and Mr. Chen Shui-bian to allow them to drive forward those advantageous cross-strait policies....  We hope that the DPP and Mr. Chen Shui-bian can put aside the cold-war hostility mentality and not blindly reject political contacts with Beijing." 

"A New Concept Of Two Sides, One China"

Center-left Sing Pao Daily News wrote (5/13):  "Beijing has adopted a new concept for its' Taiwan policy and it has provided a fairly relaxed environment for cross-strait reconciliation.  The visits by the Kuomintang and the People First Party have isolated Chen Shui-bian in a short term.  However, the visits have also paved the way for Chen.  As a leader of Taiwan, Chen Shui-bian has the most bargaining chips in his hands.  At the moment, Chen Shui-bian does not have a burden to solicit votes.  As long as Chen is brave enough to take a historic step, he will be able to go down in history like Lien Chan and James Soong.  However, if he remains the same as before and continues to take the path of separation, he will be cast aside by history." 

"President Hu Makes Concessions In Order To Gain Advantages"

Independent Sing Tao Daily News said (5/13):  "Taiwan's People First Party Chairman James Soong followed the Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan and visited China.  Yesterday, Soong reached a 6-point consensus with the Chinese Communist Party Secretary General Hu Jintao in Beijing.  The consensus is more or less like the one reached by Hu and Lien about 'a common wish for cross-strait peaceful development.'  The mainland has tried harder to mollify Taiwanese people.  Once and again, the mainland tried to throw the ball follow at the court of Chen Shui-bian.  Taiwan will hold the National Assembly elections tomorrow.  It will clearly show Taiwanese people's political inclination toward the topic of unification or independence....  Tomorrow's National Assembly elections will show more clearly than the opinion poll the new situation in Taiwan after the visits of Lien and Soong.  Hu Jintao put forward a more relaxed principle of 'two sides, one China.'  It can be seen as his tactics targeting at the Taiwan independence by making concessions in order to gain advantages." 

"'Two Sides One China' Allows Room For Further Development"

Pro-PRC Wen Wei Po editorialized (5/13):  "The current cross-strait relations are at a critical juncture.  The visits of Lien Chan and James Soong have successfully set up a new situation and opened up cross-strait exchanges.  China's open, frank, flexible and pragmatic Taiwan policy has provided extremely good conditions for Chen Shui-bian to 'land in the mainland.'  As a leader of Taiwan, determining where will Chen Shui-bian go has become a key factor for the development of cross-strait relations....  Will Chen Shui-bian give a positive response to the mainland's call?  It will depend on whether Chen is determined, clever and brave enough to get rid of obstructions from the green camp, to follow the trend of cross-strait reconciliation and to resume the cross-strait negotiations.  Chen Shui-bain should not miss this historic chance."  

"Mainland Scholar Says 'Two Sides, One China; No Independence, No Use Of Force' Important Achievement At 'Hu-Soong Meeting'"

The Independent Zhongguo Tongxun She wrote (5/13):  Professor Chen Kongli of Xiamen University held that using "two sides, one China" to interpret the "92 Consensus" is a "very clever move" because the "92 Consensus" was a generalization in principle of the cross-strait political talks in the past and the four characters were not written black and white on any document. This has provided room for Lee Teng-hui [Li Teng-hui], Chen Shui-bian [Ch'en Shui-bien] and others to deliberately deny it.  Chen Kongli held that "two sides, one China" does not constitute much pressure on the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) because it is intermingled with "one China according to the Constitution [xian fa yi zhong]" the DPP has adhered to. Hsieh Chang-ting, "premier of the Executive Yuan" of Taiwan once said that it was necessary to accept the reality of "one China according to the Constitution." Therefore, the DPP may gradually accept "two sides, one China." Besides, official cross-strait can be resumed only if the DPP accepts "two sides, one China."...  The communique issued after the "Hu-Soong Meeting" says so long as Taiwan does not move toward "Taiwan independence," military conflict between the two sides of the strait can be avoided. This is a commitment made by the mainland in black and white for the first time on "no independence, no use of force," which has again shown the sincerity and goodwill of the mainland....  It is of course not easy for Chen Shui-bian and the DPP to accept "two sides, one China" and it may take some for them to do so. However, from a long-term point of view, the DPP in fact has no better option.

"'Taiwan Consciousness' Is Not Equated With 'Taiwan Independence'"

Independent Ming Pao Daily News editorialized (5/12):  "In James Soong's speech, he stressed the point of 'Taiwan consciousness.'  He hoped that the mainland would not equate 'Taiwan consciousness' with 'Taiwan independence.'  Beijing leaders should mull over his speech carefully, and they should come up with a Taiwan policy that would be in line with the public feeling of Taiwanese people....  People who understand Taiwan should see that behind all ideological and political debates, Taiwanese people are seeking peace, dignity, democracy, freedom, affluence and development, and not Taiwan's independence or war.  Soong also wants to remind the mainland that it must have a correct understanding that Taiwanese people expressed their opinions and aspirations based on 'Taiwan consciousness.'  Even if those opinions were criticisms or objections against hasty unification, they should not be equated with 'Taiwan independence.'  Only by having such an understanding can both sides across achieve real communication and understanding." 

"Manipulate 'Taiwan Consciousness'; 'Taiwan Independence' Elements Forget About Their Origins"

Pro-PRC Hong Kong Commercial Daily wrote (05/12):  "From an objective angle of history, Taiwan has undergone 400 years of detachment, 100 years of being completely cut off and 50 years of confrontation.  Its people have gradually developed a sense of recognizing Taiwan.  Actually, this is a normal phenomenon of historical development.  Loving one's own village and land is natural and normal.  However, no matter how the Taiwan history developed, Taiwan and the mainland are from the same family and they share the same name - China....  However, the 'Taiwan independence' elements racked their brains to manipulate 'Taiwan consciousness.'  They tried to separate Taiwan with the mainland and they attempted to deny 'one China' politically.  'Taiwan independence' elements tried to curb cross-strait economic exchanges and to cut cross-strait cultural connections.  In history, they tried to deny that they came from the same origin.  Furthermore, they tried to plant hatred of the mainland in Taiwanese people's hearts so that they could separate Taiwan from China.  James Soong rightly pointed out that 'Taiwan independence' forces were wrong to try to forget about their origins.  The mainland has always understood and respected the 'Taiwan consciousness' derived from the history and the strong aspirations of Taiwanese people to become their own masters."

"The Issue Of 'One Country' Is Not Easy To Resolve"

Independent Hong Kong Economic Journal editorialized (05/11):  "James Soong followed Lien Chan's heels by visiting China.  Until now, their visits have been pretty successful.  One of the achievements of their visits is that they have thrown the Democratic Progressive Party into confusion and the radical Taiwan-independence group, the Taiwan Solidarity Union, had a falling-out with Chen Shui-bian.  In addition, the pan-green camp has internal conflicts.  This shows that Lien's and Soong's China visits did create a huge impact on the political environment in Taiwan.  Mainland China has won a battle by bringing together the unification camps....  However, after the heat of Lien's and Soong's visits start to cool down, it is still difficult to make cross-strait negotiations happen.  For Taiwan, no matter which political parties come to power, it cannot avoid the issue of giving the Republic of China a position (whether the ruling party will recognize Taiwan as a sovereign state) and what will the relationship between Beijing and Taipei be, i.e. the central government versus provisional government?  In fact, it is not difficult for Lien Chan and James Soong to recognize one China, but does one China mean the Peoples Republic of China?"

"Just Say The Word"

In independent English-language South China Morning Post Laurence Brahm wrote (5/10):  While in Beijing, Mr Lien said: "We are not only reliant on each other for survival; we are intertwined for our mutual benefit. Moreover, we are one plus one, being greater than two. So, the Chinese people's modernisation and strong, rich prosperity are not a far-reaching dream ... What's wrong with working together to earn the world's money?"  To take his place in history, Mr Chen must open the way for both sides to "earn the world's money together". If he can clear the "one-China" hurdle, which is what President Hu Jintao needs to lock his place in history, then Mr Chen should bargain with Beijing for a roll-out of economic privileges and investment advantages for Taiwanese businesspeople. This will also unlock the gates to unprecedented institutional investment, which has been impaired by the nagging question of stability.  The problem remains one of language.....  Beijing appears willing to leave the de facto status quo.... But the mainland government... insists that [Chen] accept the "1992 consensus"....  Last October 10, [Chen] talked of the "1992 discussions". When rebuffed by Beijing for not recognising the word "consensus", he clarified matters in a speech on November 11, talking of the "fruitful results of the 1992 discussions". This tacitly eliminated all the points on which the two sides disagreed, leaving "one China" implicitly as the only "fruitful result"... Today, cross-strait economic integration hangs on one word.  When the US talks of maintaining the status quo, it means with the "one China" issue unresolved. Mr Lien's version infers two political systems running in parallel. For outsiders, there may appear to be no real disparity. For Beijing, the difference is enormous.

TAIWAN:  "Clearly Recognize That China Is A Terrorist Country Whose Goal Is Using Military Force For Expansion"

Pro-independence Liberty Times commented (6/8):  "The US has equated the expansion of China's military force with a terrorist threat, in other words, it sees China's military threat as the same kind of terrorist organization as 'al-Qa'idah' led by [Usamah] Bin-Ladin, and undoubtedly exposed China's self-glorifying lie of a 'peaceful rise'... The essence of the Chinese Communist Party regime, to tell the truth, is a terrorist organization and rogue state. Some people vainly think that recognizing the '1992 consensus' and 'one-China principle', or worshipping China like [Taiwan opposition Kuomintang Chairman] Lien and [People First Party Chairman] Soong, is the same as acknowledging that Taiwan is a province of China, but once Taiwan loses sovereignty, won't Taiwan's security be in the hands of a terrorist? Can the people of Taiwan accept this?"

"'Do Not Be Afraid Of Deferring' And There Is Also No Need To 'Strive For Talks'"

Pro-independence Liberty Times noted (6/7):  "In regard to China, 'not being afraid to defer' is right, and 'striving for talks' is a very serious mistake. Taiwan's sovereign independence is the status quo, so why the rush for talks with China? We must seriously give an alert on this, China passed the 'Anti-Secession Law' not long ago, which empowers it to use non-peaceful means to deal with Taiwan, and China's threat of force against Taiwan is rising steadily. China is using hegemonist means to deal with Taiwan, using the united front dividing tactic of 'using Taiwan to contain Taiwan', but Taiwan is like a moth to a flame in 'striving for talks', which will unavoidably send the wrong message to the international community, let people mistakenly think that the Taiwan people certainly do not care about China's threat of force, and even think that the threat of force does not exist. If this is really so, regardless of how talks go in the future, Taiwan is doomed to be the loser."

“[If The Government Insists On] Any More Plans to Proactively Open [To The Chinese Market], Any Measure [to Manage This Trade] Will Be Empty Words.”

Pro-independence Liberty Times editorialized (6/3):  "One cannot understand [why], when China has legislated the ‘Anti-Secession Law,’ Taiwan government officials still consider opening the Chinese market to local companies, such as naphtha cracking plants, IC packaging plants, and LCD TFT plants that produce panels under four inches.  The officials also plan to enhance the upper limit of the net-value ratio regarding private investments in China, and to identify loosely the qualifications for companies that are funded by Chinese investment.  One does not know whether to cry or to laugh at the fact that these officials obviously accept the viewpoints of the unification activists to lean toward China, and to view ‘openness’ and ‘investment in China’ as ‘appeals for the economy;’.... We can not agree with Premier Frank Hsieh’s statement that ‘We can profit from the China fever,’ because apparently he sees only the part where merchants could profit, but he ignores the consequent loss to society as well as the country.  All that being said, we consider as long as economic officials, the Presidential Office, and the Executive Yuan do not change their wrong thinking, the China fever (in terms of investment) will not be dampened, and the fever will become more serious.  Taiwan’s economic growth will thus surely decline. …”

“Beijing Tramples Rights - Again.”

The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times editorialized  (6/3):  “Many people who hold unrealistic ideas about China often conveniently forget, or consciously choose to turn a blind eye, to its notorious violations of basic civil rights - freedom of the press being just one of them.  It should not be forgotten that in China the news media is state-controlled and is essentially a puppet, allowed to parrot government propaganda only.... If Beijing genuinely wishes to change the impression that it has absolutely no respect for the rule of law and human rights, start by according these detained journalists open and transparent legal due process.” 

"We Absolutely Should Not Allow Chinese Tourists To Come To Taiwan. The Right Thing To Do Is To Attract High-Spending Tourists From Europe, US, Japan"

Pro-independence Liberty Times expressed (6/2):  Opposition to opening Taiwan to tourists from mainland China. The editorial says China's allowing its tourists to visit Taiwan is a united front tactic, so Taiwan should not blindly open itself to mainland tourists at the risk of national security. The editorial also asserts that mainland tourists' coming to Taiwan will bring many negative consequences such as illegal immigration, prostitution, and crime, as it has in countries such as South Korea, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Europe. It is simply wrong to turn a blind eye to the risks posed by mainland tourists to national security and law and order simply because of short-term business gains, says the editorial.

"We Suggest US President Bush Invite Cross-Strait Leaders Chen Shui-bian And Hu Jintao For Formal Talks in Washington"

The pro-independence English-language Taipei Times urged (6/2):  the United States to assist Chen to participate in the APEC summit meeting in South Korea at the end of this year so that Chen and Hu could meet face to face in preparation for a formal meeting in a "third country," preferably in Washington. The editorial says it agrees with US scholar and former government official Kenneth Lieberthal that aides from both sides of the Taiwan Strait should first meet to create the right climate for a Bian-Hu meeting, and suggests that the APEC meeting is a perfect occasion for a Bian-Hu meeting. Agreeing with former president Lee Teng-hui that Taiwan is an international issue and should be solved internationally, the editorial maintains that the Israeli-PLO meeting at Camp David is a good example to follow for cross-strait leaders.

 "US Should Take a Side in the Strait"

In the pro-independence English-language Taipei Times Paul Lin wrote (6/2):  In order to cozy up to China, the two opposition parties have no choice but to adopt an anti-US position, for the principles and systems of the two countries are antithetical. Since the KMT lost power, its members and those of the PFP have sought to make trouble in the Taiwan-US relationship, even though Lien and Soong have not personally taken part in this process.  A constant stream of criticism has been directed at the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) for relying too heavily on the US. The opposition parties have clearly shown themselves willing to sell out Taiwan, and to favor China over the US.  They have even obstructed the special arms procurement bill as a favor to China, endangering Taiwan's security and making themselves accomplices in China's expansionism.  It is unfortunate that the US government has been unaware of this. They see Taiwan's party politics as being the same as those in the US, forgetting that Taiwan's democracy is still in its infancy and that the KMT has yet to adapt itself to operating in a democratic system....  Now that the opposition has come out into the open about their policy to join with the CCP against Taiwan, it is only a matter of time before they make plain that they will join with the CCP against the US as well. The US needs to realize this.

“Be Aware Of China’s Use Of Cover To Peacefully Annex Taiwan”

Pro-independence Liberty Times editorialized (5/31):  “China has used Taiwan as an excuse for its military buildup.  As China’s economy picks up, its capability of military expansion grows significantly.  Under the cover of ‘peaceful rise,' the real situation is that China is moving to become a military giant.  China thinks of itself as Asia’s economic powerhouse [and is thus] qualified to become the leader in the region.  The strong U.S. military presence, meanwhile, is viewed by China as the biggest enemy for its annexation of Taiwan and taking the leadership of all of Asia. Therefore, China has aggressively sought to break the First Island Chain and to squeeze the U.S. zone in the West Pacific.  It is widely known that Chinese submarines have breached the First Island Chain several times during their operations....  We are concerned that with opposition parties blocking the budget and cooperating with the Beijing authorities, China only has to use some trick such as pretending it plans to remove missiles, [whereby] it can [then] peacefully annex Taiwan without firing a missile.”

“China Uses An Indirect Way To Usurp Pro-China Pan-Blue Political Parties To Paralyze The Arms Procurement Special Budget Bill”

Pro-independence Taiwan Daily editorialized (5/28):  “In recent years, the Chinese government no longer pressures the U.S. authorities, and instead it indirectly uses the pro-China KMT and PFP’s majority advantage in the Legislative Yuan to paralyze the arms procurement budget bill in the Legislative Yuan for the first time....  We think Washington should figure out the key to the question, which is that the reason the arms procurement budget bill has been boycotted by the Pan-Blue legislators several times is... because the Chinese government intentionally usurps Taiwan’s two pro-China political parties to delay the review procedure for the arms procurement budget bill....  We think the KMT party headquarters cannot neglect the symbolic meaning of the letter co-signed by 33 U.S congressmen to [KMT Chairman] Lien Chan, [because the letter means that] the U.S. Congress has become aware of the fact that Lien Chan plays an important role in the continuous boycott process of the arms procurement budget bill; unless the KMT never becomes Taiwan’s governing party, otherwise it will never be possible for a political party which disregards Taiwan’s national defense to such a degree to gain the U.S. government’s trust and support.”

“United States Loses Leading Role In Taiwan Strait - Part II”

In the pro-independence Taiwan Daily Lai I-chung wrote (5/28):  “The United States has lost its leading role in the Taiwan Strait, and this is why the U.S. State Department spokesman said a few days ago that the United States did not intend to control, so it could not control the cross-Strait situation....  In the past the United States could do nothing about the Pan-Blue camp’s blocking of the arms procurements, now it can be considered that the Pan-Blue camp has used the arms procurements in an almost threatening way to get its pass to China, and we can see whether the arms procurement [bill] passes [in the Legislative Yuan], the United States has been 'had' by the Pan-Blue, and this has been the United States’ first miscalculation.... When Washington came to realize the situation was not good, it could do nothing but admit unhappily that the United States has no control over the Taiwan Strait situation....  [T]he [reasons that] the United States managed to have initiatives regarding the Taiwan Strait situation in the past,... [is] the United States’ interference was justified as a means to protect Taiwan’s democracy.  But now because Hu Jintao has started to penetrate Taiwan’s political agenda, and has become as justified as the United States by controlling the Pan-Blue camp, the United States’ ability to initiate Taiwan Strait [matters] has been nullified.  From now on, the United States is no longer a controller who ‘defines the status quo in Taiwan Strait,’ but has become a competitor in competition with China over political influence in Taiwan, and whether there will be a ‘Bian-Hu meeting’ no longer means much.... Hu Jintao’s risky step to meet Lien and Soong could become a new wave of pressure on China after international society’s opposition to ‘The Anti-Secession Law,’ and this wave of pressure could also become the basis for the Green and Blue political parties in the country to unite and love Taiwan.

“The Strategic Equation Between Washington, Beijing And Taipei Is Altered Because Of The Meetings Between Lien, Soong And Hu – Part I”

In the pro-independence Taiwan Daily Lai I-chung commented (5/27):   “The trips of [KMT Chairman] Lien Chan and [PFP Chairman] James Soong to return to China, have cast a big shadow over Taiwan’s democratic development.  As for the triangular relationship between Washington, Beijing and Taipei, the United States has lost its leadership over the current status in the Taiwan Strait.  Hu became the biggest winner, whereas Taiwan is the biggest loser in the triangular relationship....  What is worse is that Lien has no guts, so he dared not to publicly mention ‘one China, different interpretations’ in front of Hu, and he even embraced Beijing’s ‘May 17 statement’ issued in 2004.  Soong was even worse; his recklessness drove him to raise complacently the new interpretation for the ‘1992 Consensus;’ namely, the ‘both sides of [Taiwan] Strait, one China’ statement.  His move has created an effect that is tantamount to the PFP endorsing Beijing’s ‘new syllogism toward Taiwan’ and its definition of Taiwan’s status.... ‘Taiwan and mainland China [i.e. both sides] belong to one China.’.....  The worst part is that such a statement is exactly the precondition laid down by China’s ‘Anti-Secession Law,’ so it also confirmed some people’s criticism against Soong and the PFP, saying they have endorsed China’s ‘Anti-Secession Law.... No matter whether Hu wants to talk with the DPP or not, a political force has taken root in Taiwan that echoes the Chinese Communist Party’s policy toward the island.... Hu has achieved his aim of isolating Chen Shui-bian....”

“Taiwan’s Military Will Fire Blanks”

In the pro-independence, English-languageTaipei Times Wendell Minnick commented (5/26):  “What kind of military buys 150 guns and only 120 bullets?  Taiwan’s military, of course....  Taiwan’s air force has enough munitions to last only two days in a war with China....  US military sources say Taiwan needs a minimum of 350 AMRAAMs, 160 Harpoons, 75 Mavericks, and 3,000 Sidewinders to sustain it long enough for US military forces to arrive to help defend Taiwan....  The minimum amount of time it would take the US to respond is five days, but some estimates predict that Washington would debate the issue for as long as two weeks before committing forces to Taiwan’s defense....  ‘Why buy only 120 [AMRAAMs]?  How long will those last in a war?  Less than a day!  That quantity is not operationally useful.  Taiwan has to take their defense seriously, instead of just buying hi-tech weapons for their leaders’ prestige.  They purchase a fire truck and don’t buy hoses,’ one discouraged US defense official said....  Taiwan needs a viable ‘force in being.’  There will be no time for an emergency delivery of AMRAAMs or Sidewinders.... Taiwan needs two launcher controllers per 150 F-16s (300 in total).... Taiwan has purchased only 56 of the launcher controllers....  A ministry report released last year concluded that Taiwan’s air force would be ‘destroyed in a few days....’  What does all of this mean in a war with China?  China will rape Taiwan.”

 “U.S. Should Act To Thwart PRC Move To Isolate Taiwan"

The pro-independence, English-language Taiwan News editorialized (5/26):  “[L]urking behind China’s passion for signing bilateral FTAs [i.e. free trade agreements] is a politically motivated plot that cannot be ignored....  In fact, the PRC aims to use the legendary attraction of the ‘huge China market’ to suck its neighboring economies into a bottomless black hole and at the same time realize its substantial political strategic objective of isolating Taiwan....  Given the evident drive by Beijing to use bilateral or multilateral FTAs to isolate Taiwan, we urge Washington to consider its own fundamental geopolitical strategy as well as economic interests and rapidly conclude the ongoing talks with Taiwan and sign a bilateral FTA with our country.  Such a breakthrough would open the doors for other countries, such as Japan, to sign FTAs with Taiwan and thus thwart the PRC’s plan to use FTAs as a platform to isolate and boycott Taiwan....  If the U.S. genuinely opposes any unilateral changes in the current status quo and balance in the Taiwan Strait, it must allow Taiwan to maintain its attractiveness as a global and regional trading partner....  Only by ensuring Taiwan’s continued economic prosperity and vitality can the status quo in the Taiwan Strait be stabilized.”

"Taiwan Should Not Remain Silent on Intrusions of Chinese Vessels"

In pro-independence Liberty Times National Taiwan University Professor Chiang Huang-chih editorialized (5/26):  Chinese research vessels entered Taiwan's waters two times in one month. According to the article, the activities are illegal, and the government should take actions to end them. According to the article, although the government does not have to open fire on the vessels, following Japan's example of firing on a DPRK spy ship, it should have issued a statement just as Sweden and Norway did about the information collection activities of an unidentified submarine. If the Taiwan government continues to adopt a weak attitude, the people will question the government's ability to safeguard the country; moreover, China will increase this kind of activity without any remorse, the article warns.

"Giving Up Sovereignty Cannot Be Exchanged for Peace"

In pro-independence Taiwan Daily Li Hen-tien wrote (5/25):  "seeking peace in the Taiwan Strait seems to be impossible because Taiwan will not give up its sovereignty and Beijing will not drop its invasion attempt. In fact, even if Taiwan surrenders to China, peace still cannot be achieved. The Taiwan Strait issue concerns not only China and Taiwan but also the interests of the United States and Japan. The United States and Japan do not care if Taiwan is a normal country or not, but they will not sit and watch Taiwan being merged with China, because it does not conform to their national interests. The Chen Shui-bian [Chen Shui-bian] regime is only dreaming if it thinks that peace can be achieved if it starts talks with China based on equality."

 "Understand Beijing To Start Cross-Strait Talks"

In the pro-independence English-language Taipei Times Liu Kuan-teh wrote (5/25): "Even if Beijing were to incorporate new and pragmatic thinking to deal seriously with Chen, are Chen and his government ready for a resumption of talks with their Chinese counterparts? Or to put it more simply, is a Chen-Hu summit realistic?... even when Chen reached a consensus with Soong to the effect that "the Republic of China" (ROC) is the "greatest common denominator" regarding Taiwan's sovereignty, Beijing slammed him for affirming that "the ROC is an independent and sovereign country" and described his plans for constitutional reform as an attempt to pursue "de jure Taiwan independence."  This mentality contributes to a maneuver favored by PRC diplomats: engaging in word games with their opponents through the insistence on certain "principles." In this case it is the "one China" principle as well as the "1992 consensus." After early browbeating to secure a counterpart's commitment to certain general principles, PRC officials will use that commitment to constrain the other side's actions as the relationship evolves....  When PRC negotiators wish to convey the impression that they are impervious to pressure or unwilling to compromise on some issue, they will assert, often not very convincingly, that they do not particularly care about a given situation or about attaining a certain objective....  A summit between Chen and Hu is unrealistic at the moment. But an understanding of Beijing's negotiating behavior could help start high-level official contacts in a third nation, perhaps mediated by a country such as the US.

“Time Running Out On Arms Bill”

The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times editorialized (5/24):  “Minister of National Defense Lee Jye told a legislative committee yesterday that if the deadlock over the special arms-procurement bill is not resolved by the end of the month, the US may sell the 12 P-3C maritime patrol aircrafts that Taiwan wants to purchase to another country.  He said the purchase of submarines may also fall through.  If the Legislative Yuan continues to obstruct passage of this bill, national security will be dangerously compromised....  The political parties may well have different opinions on the unification-independence question and other cross-strait issues.  But the arms-procurement bill transcends this debate.  The pan-blue parties believe that negotiations are the best way to secure peace and stability.  However, if Taiwan is left without the means to defend itself, it will have nothing to bargain with.  For this reason, these military purchases are essential.  They are a precondition to cross-strait negotiations....  China might at any time seek to use ‘non-peaceful means’ to resolve the cross-strait issue, and any imbalance in naval strength is only likely to encourage Beijing to take this option.  If the procurement bill does not pass, it is likely that this nation will find itself unable even to maintain the status quo in the Strait....”

“Chen At A Crossroads Over Cross-Strait Policy”

In the pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times Emile Sheng noted (5/23):  “If he really wants to achieve something in the time remaining, he must pursue a consistent political agenda and prepare himself to deal with the criticism that this may engender....  Chen is at crossroads, and none of the options before him – whether to risk war, seek peace or to procrastinate – are easy.  But if political infighting deprives him of the ability to choose one of these roads, then many opportunities will simply pass us by.  Whether Chen will succeed in the end will be determined not only by his sincerity, but also by his vision....  Vision refers not only to a skillful political strategy but also to broad political horizons.  Chen must rise above personal or partisan motives and think about setting an example for the rest of the world.  For the future of cross-strait relations, Chen should work with opposition parties rather than engaging in political infighting and divisive strategies.”

 "Still Unrelenting On Taiwan"

The conservative pro-unification English-language The China Post editoralized (5/22):  "Taiwan's failure this week to gain a foothold in the World Health Organization, in this island's ninth attempt in as many years, is regrettable and outrageous. No wonder President Chen Shui-bian was upset and angry. He said Chinese president Hu Jintao "washed away" the goodwill engendered by the recent visits to China by Lien Chan and James Soong, leaders of Taiwan's two opposition parties.  Taiwan's expectations for a successful bid were higher this year because of the euphoria generated by the Lien-Soong visits. But it turned out that Beijing was as uncompromising as before, suggesting that Taiwan join the WHO under the name of "Taiwan, China" whose requests for WHO technical assistance must be channeled via Beijing. This is unacceptable for Taiwan, which applied for an observer's status under the name of a "health entity" instead of a sovereign state.  Beijing should demonstrate genuine goodwill toward Taiwan by agreeing to allow this island to use the name of "Chinese-Taipei" to join the WHO. After all, this is the formula under which Taiwan joined the World Trade Organization, the International Olympic Committee, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Denying Taiwan a reasonable international breathing space will only alienate the 23 million people here and drive them further away from the mainland.

“From Chen Shui-bian To Emperor Wu Of The Han Dynasty – President Chen’s Actual Term Of Office Will Last Only One And A Half Years”

Conservative pro-unification United Daily News wrote (5/20):  “As for cross-Strait relations, … President Chen must lead the DPP out of the dead end of Taiwan independence within his term of office. … Should Chen want to look for a breakthrough in the cross-Strait relations, he must try and focus on the mechanism for real interaction.  If he could put the three links across the Taiwan Strait into practice within his remaining term of office, the interaction structure across the Taiwan Strait will be established.  Consequently, the factor of Taiwan independence will be resolved, and Chen’s historical status will thus be determined. …”

“China Cheats and Fools Lien and Soong?  Political Hoax Appears Again”

Pro-independence Liberty Times editorialized (5/18):  “Taiwan’s has failed again with regard to its efforts to become an observer at the Assembly of the World Health Organization.  Taiwan people need not feel disheartened about such a development.  Instead, they should be happy that following the wave of blind China fever on the island.... China’s barbarous move to invalidate the communiqués it signed with Lien and Soong came in time to unveil the false impression of peace that China has recently created.  Beijing’s move has also exposed its lies about its willingness to assist Taiwan’s bid to join the international community and allowed most Taiwan people to see clearly the true face of China.... It is thus believed that Chen, given such an understanding, will surely modify the erroneous route he adopted after his meeting with Soong [in February] and will try harder to consolidate and strengthen Taiwan’s sovereignty and identity.  Judged from this perspective, China’s obstruction of Taiwan’s bid to join the WHA this time can be viewed as a gain for Taiwan as Taiwan has seen through Beijing’s scam.”

“Following The Ninth Failure Of [Taiwan’s] Bid To Join The WHO”

Centrist, pro-status quo China Times observed (5/18):  “ As expected, Beijing has again strongly blocked the [WHO’s] passage of the International Health Regulations (IHR) and attempted to modify the contents of IHR.  In other words, even though Beijing appeared to speak nice words and act in a flexible manner [toward Taiwan], it was relentless in its move to thwart Taiwan’s space in the international community. [For Taiwan], even though its efforts to seek dignity in international society can become an issue on the agenda of its talks with Beijing, to use flexible and smart strategies to create Taiwan’s strength and resources and thereby garner international support is actually the best bargaining chip that Taiwan can use in cross-Strait talks as well as for its existence and development.”   

“The WHO Bows Before China Again”

The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times commented (5/18):  “Pundits who thought the trips to China by Chinese Nationalist Party Chairman (KMT) Lien Chan and People First Party Chairman James Soong would elicit a more civilized form of behavior from Beijing were fooling themselves.  Beijing has once again blocked Taipei’s application to join the World Health Organization (WHO), and thus China’s ‘united front’ strategy and hypocrisy in creating the illusion of ‘peaceful intentions’ for international consumption is plain to see.  Equally obvious is Beijing’s lust for Taiwan’s territory at the expense of the health and security of Taiwanese people....  China’s tactics prove that the agreements Hu reached with Lien and Soong – both of whom long for unification – are worth less than the paper on which they are printed.  Taiwan’s experience on this attempt to attend the WHA should show simple-minded officials and politicians who insist on building mechanisms of mutual trust that there is no trust to be found from Beijing, and that anyone who deals with China in any capacity should be wary and prepare for some disappointing outcomes...."

“New PRC Strategy To Pressure Taipei To Take One China Tenet”

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post  wrote (5/18):  “According to the conclusions Beijing has reached with the WHO, Taipei must apply for admission as part of China, using the name of ‘Taiwan, China.’  Obviously, this name arrangement is unacceptable to us, as it simply does not correspond with Taiwan’s longstanding political status quo.  Should we accept the name designation, it will deeply degrade Taiwan’s standing and gravely damage its interests....  The membership issue has once again demonstrated the need for the administration of President Chen Shui-bian to put aside its political ideology and enter into talks with Beijing....  It appears very likely that Beijing may use the new arrangements with the WHO as a formula for Taiwan’s entry in the future into other world organizations, in which statehood is required for membership.  Taiwan may choose not to accept this model, if it prefers to continuously stay outside.  But the price will be highly damaging.  Taiwan must continue to suffer being isolated internationally.  And its companies will remain denied convenient access to the world’s largest market because of political feuds that make normalization of economic relations impossible."

“US Flails As Hu Jintao Gains The Upper Hand”

In the pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times Lai I-chung, Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the Taiwan Thinktank, noted (5/18):  “Hu has managed to take the upper hand in cross-strait issues from the US.  Washington, whose role no longer appears quite as dominant as it was, is now vying with Beijing for influence over Taiwan.  In addition, the US’ ability to define the nature of the status quo in the Taiwan Strait is beginning to slip....  In point of fact, the US should have paid more attention to these talks [i.e. Lien-Hu talks and Soong-Hu talks] and not be suckered into thinking they were a precursor for talks between Hu and President Chen Shui-bian....  The US should have insisted that the process be peaceful and cautioned that its results conform to the wishes of the Taiwanese people.  If it had done so, Washington would still have been able to call the shots, define the bottom line, and have some control over how the situation develops....  This lack of understanding caused US statements prior to the visits to be interpreted as a blank check for Lien and Soong to say whatever they wanted in China.  The US’ emphasis was on paving the way for a meeting between Chen and Hu, but after Lien started making public statements in China, Washington belatedly realized that things were out of control....  Washington’s call for a dialogue between Chen and Hu are now too late....  With China and the US competing for influence over Taiwan, it is likely that a pro-China and pro-US camp will emerge in response....  this will be one of the greatest challenges that Taiwan’s democracy has ever faced.”

“Is ‘Two Sides Of The Strait, One China’ The Same As ‘One China, Different Interpretations’ Or ‘Each Party Interprets One China’?”

Conservative pro-unification United Daily News editorialized (5/17):  Editor's Note: This editorial was a linguistic play-on-words in Chinese.  Our translation is meant to give the flavor of the opinion but there may be differences of opinion on the exact translation of individual clauses.  “ …Different positions on ‘two sides of the Strait, one China’ may lead to different interpretations, such as: ‘the status-quo across the Strait is one China,’ ‘two sides of the Strait are ruled separately, one China in the future,’ ‘two sides of the Strait share one China,’ ‘two sides of the Strait separate one China,’ ‘two sides of the Strait interpret the contents of one China separately,’ ‘two sides of the Strait interprets the principle of one China.’  These interpretations are logical.  However, if the meaning of a political term is to diffuse or if one cannot interpret a political term firmly, the term is hardly practical.  This is the reason why society has different interpretations and evaluations of the statement ‘two sides of the Strait, One China.... The current deadlock is the result of the Chen administration’s denial of ‘one China defined by the Constitution.’  If Taiwan does not even admit ‘one China defined by the Constitution,’ how can China make concessions regarding ‘one China with different interpretations,’ and how can China’s concessions be useful?...  President Chen Shui-bian denies any statement regarding ‘one China,’ including ‘one China defined by the Constitution.’  And James Soong cannot cover this up for Chen.  Under the current situation, it is useless even if we interpret ‘two sides of the Strait, one China’ as ‘one China with different interpretations.’  And it would be a setback if we interpret ‘two sides of the Strait, one China’ as ‘each party interprets one China (policy).’” 

“Voters Rain Out ‘China Fever’”

The pro-independence, English-language Taiwan News  noted (5/16):  “The DPP’s expansion of its vote share from 35.7 percent last December to 42.5 percent should be seen as an affirmation of its values of democratic reform and promotion of Taiwan autonomy and a reflection of the fact that the DPP was the only major party to carry out a genuine grass-roots campaign for what it called the ‘Carnation’ constitutional reform....  Taiwan’s voters have undoubtedly inflicted a setback on Beijing’s transparent campaign to ‘divide and rule’ Taiwan by fostering a cross-Strait ‘united front’ against Taiwan democracy and independence among the opposition KMT and PFP with the PRC’s ruling CCP....  We applaud Taiwan’s electorate, which has wisely used their ballots to squelch this wave of ‘China Fever’.  We urge President Chen to use this momentum wisely as a platform to build majority support based on the DPP’s core values of ‘democracy, reform, and sincerity’ instead of pursuing short-term political advantage.”

“Creating A Grand Future By Making A Grand Resolution”

In centrist, pro-status quo China Times Nan Fang-shuo wrote (5/16):  “Even though the record low turnout may not reflect reality, this is still a formal election regardless of how low the turnout was.  The results will be treated and interpreted as reality. They have also given reasons not to make any adjustment to the ‘Taiwan independence argument.’  Moving toward Taiwan independence could even be accelerated because the pressure and crisis resulted from the cross-Strait fever have been temporarily relieved....  For example, ‘The Washington Post’ is following suit and playing the word games [of one China, two interpretations or two sides, one China].  As this newspaper takes a position close to the official [U.S. position], this indeed indicates that there are some Americans who have tried hard to play the role of resolving the deadlock between the two sides across the Strait.  Not only must the United States help to resolve the issue. Taiwan, in particular, needs to help itself.  From the recent political clashes at the airport and the internal chaos of the Pan-Green camp, one can see the incumbent government is stuck in the ‘Taiwan independence argument’ trap it dug itself in the past. Really responsible political figures or parties cannot just be the hostage of their past statements.  They must create new future public opinions by a ‘grand resolution.’  This may be what the incumbent government should put into deliberation.…”

“Instead Of Being Entangled In Words Taiwan Would Rather Face Real Problems”

Centrist, pro-status quo China Times  editorialized (5/15):  “Soong expected that the recovery of the oral interpretations [of One China] in the 1992 cross-Strait talks could lead to a breakthrough regarding different views of the ‘1992 consensus.’  But since Soong added ‘both sides of the Strait, One China’ in quotation marks right behind the words ‘1992 consensus,’ he has not solved the old problem [the 1992 consensus], but has created a new one....  since Soong’s visit to China is caught up in the quarrel of ‘both sides of the Strait, One China,’ Soong’s efforts in other aspects have been totally ignored....  If both sides of the Strait can cooperate on items such as economics, agriculture and tourism first, accumulate enough mutual trust, then conduct dialogue on contentious issues such as the ‘1992 consensus,’ would it be more possible to achieve positive outcomes?...  To be frank, if Beijing still utilizes every means to block Taiwan [from participating in the WHA] as it always does, or even humiliates Taiwan as China has in previous years, the result would show that China cannot pass the first test [in terms of China’s goodwill toward Taiwan], and it would be more difficult for Taiwan to carry out further dialogue with China.” 

“Taiwan People Despise Political Parties Leaning Toward China”

Pro-independence Liberty Times editorialized (5/15):  "Although voter turnout in the National Assembly elections was the lowest [in Taiwan’s election history,] we can still interpret some information from it.  Although both the DPP (insisting on Taiwan’s position) and the KMT (insisting on the ‘One China’ [principle] and the ‘1992 consensus’) support the motion to put referendum into the Constitution, the DPP won more votes than the KMT; both the TSU (insisting on Taiwan’s name-change plan and the constitutional reform) and the PFP (insisting on the ‘One China’ [principle] and the ‘1992 consensus’) are against the motion to put referendum into the Constitution, but the TSU won more seats than the PFP.  The phenomenon shows that KMT Chairman Lien Chan and PFP Chairman James Soong cannot cheat mainstream Taiwan voters even though Lien and Soong brought back to Taiwan gifts from China’s President Hu Jintao.  Taiwan voters despise Lien and Soong’s attempt to ‘unite with the CCP to counter Taiwan.’  The fact is indeed a warning that the majority of voters do not support the imaginary meeting between President Chen Shui-bian and China’s President Hu Jintao....”

"Do Not Let China Become the Winner of This Election"

The pro-independence Liberty Times criticized (5/15):  "KMT chairman Lien Chan and PFP chairman James Soong for their visits to China and calls on voters in today's National Assembly elections not to vote for the KMT or the PFP."  The editorial says that although the election is supposed to be purely about the constitutional amendment, the mainland trips by Lien Chan and James Soong have led to a "China fever" which has turned the election into a plebiscite on the "China fever," so China must not be allowed to become the winner of this election. Therefore, the editorial urges voters to avoid voting for Lien Chan's and James Soong's pro-China and pro-reunification political parties.

"Indifference, Dissatisfaction, Anger"

Pro-unification, conservative Central Daily News commentated (5/15):  "With [Taiwan President] Chen Shui-bian's painstaking manipulation, the entire election process suffered serious distortion, the Democratic Progressive Party government sedulously compared the mainland trips by the chairmen of the Kuomintang and People First Party as a sell-out, and misled the populace again that this election was a duel between Taiwan and China, which ruined everyone's appetite, and resulted in the absolute majority of voters having unparalleled indifference towards this National Assembly election. A 20-per cent odd turnout was the lowest in Taiwan's history - what does this represent? That the Taiwan people used such a turnout to express dissatisfaction and anger at the Democratic Progressive Party government..."

"Taiwan Consciousness Delivered From Oppression!"

Pro-independence Liberty Times divulged (5/15): "Taiwan voters used their votes to negate Lien and Soong's trips to China, and used their votes to effectively contain the red storm of China fever, and enable Taiwan consciousness to be delivered from oppression!... In this election result, Taiwan voters used their vote to sternly warn the Chinese authorities that attempts to win over the [Taiwan opposition] pan-blues to the Taiwan united front were completely ineffective... Taiwan voters used their votes to proclaim domestically and overseas that Taiwan is absolutely not 'for sale', and whoever attempts to sell out Taiwan will certainly be spurned by the people, and will surely be swept into the political trash can."

“Mission Unaccomplished”

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post editorialized (5/14):  “The gifts Soong brought back from the mainland include a timetable for starting all out direct transport, trade and remittance links with the mainland in 2006, and the establishment of a free trade area.  But translating these words into action would need the help of the government....  So far the Chen administration is resisting Beijing’s largess, including Taiwan’s fruit exports to the mainland at zero tariff.  The government is accusing Lien and Soong of selling out Taiwan by cozying up to the Chinese communists.  But how effective such smear tactics will work remains in doubt, as more and more people are beginning to realize the importance and benefits of improved relations with the mainland....  The two visits in a row by leaders of the two largest opposition parties are epoch-making....  Yet greater efforts are needed to complete the bridge.”

“Hu, Lien, Soong Join Forces To Constrain Taiwan; Even The Shadow Of The Republic Of China Disappears”

Pro-independence Liberty Times editorialized (5/13):  “Whether it is the Lien-Hu press communiqué or the Soong-Hu conference communiqué, both blur Taiwan’s sovereignty and further play the trick of promoting unification by economic interests.  The bridge built by them leads to surrender....  With the two united-front helpers of Lien Chan and Soong, China’s ability to destroy Taiwan by the united-front tactic will definitely be strengthened.  This will be a major trial for Taiwan moving toward a normalized nation.  [Judging] from the implicit mutual understanding that Lien Chan and James Soong have with Hu Jintao, their common denominators with Hu are much larger than those with the people of Taiwan.  If President Chen still wants to insist on Taiwan’s sovereignty and security, he can no longer fantasize about using the Republic of China, which Lien and Soong dared not to mention [in the mainland], as the common denominator to seek reconciliation and co-existence with Lien and Soong, who are joining forces with the communists to constrain Taiwan. Whether he will fight against the fad of cooperating with the communists and the China fever or succumb to this adverse current and make preparations for a Bian-Hu meeting, all this involves the survival of the 23 million people in Taiwan and the protection of sovereignty.”

“‘Two Sides of the Strait, One China’ Is Extension of ‘One-China Roof,’’”

Pro-independence Taiwan Daily commented (5/13):  “James Soong said to resume negotiations on an equal footing based on the ‘Two Side of the Strait, One China’ principle is an extension of his past proposal of the ‘one-China Roof’ theory.  There is nothing new about this.  Under the ‘one-China’ framework, it equals losing Taiwan’s sovereignty and [gaining] a status not different from Hong Kong’s.  The so-called ‘Two Sides of the Strait, One China’ is plainly a reproduction of ‘one country, two systems.’ How can there be any equal sovereign footing or ‘resumption of negotiations on an equal basis’ between the two sides across the Strait?  James Soong’s statement is self-deception.  How can it be accepted by the majority of the Taiwan people? …”

"Soong-Hu Meeting An Anti-Climax”

The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times editorialized (5/13):  "As for conducting substantive talks with Chinese officials, nothing [Soong or Hu] said had not been uttered before.  At the core of all their speeches is still the ‘one China’ principle and the so-called ‘1992 consensus’ under which this principle is supposedly recognized.  In other words, the fundamental roadblock preventing any progress in the cross-strait relationship remains...  Ironically, in repudiating Taiwan independence as an option, Soong went on to say that independence would only bring disaster and war.  The problem is that these disasters and war could be averted if only China could learn to respect Taiwan’s democracy and its right to self-determination.  So, at the end of the day, Taiwan independence is not an option to some people only because Beijing had made it to.”

“Beijing Demonstrates Flexibility; Room For [Cross-Strait] Reconciliation Increases”

Wang Chuo-chung noted in centrist, pro-status quo China Times (5/13):  “Have the words ‘two sides of the [Taiwan] Strait, one China’ broken the long-term political standstill across the Taiwan Strait?... Cross-Strait tensions were indeed alleviated following [KMT Chairman] Lien Chan’s and Soong’s China trips, but the political deadlock still remains, as evidenced by the DPP’s unanimous attacks against the consensus reached between Lien, Soong and Hu....  For Beijing, the focus now remains whether or not the ruling DPP is willing to agree to ‘one China under the Constitution.’  In fact, anytime in the future if the DPP is willing to talk about ‘one China,’ that will mean it has provided a staircase for Beijing to step down, and Beijing will immediately agree to resume talks with Taiwan, which have been cut off for a long time....  Some experts in Taiwan affairs analyzed that Hu’s new policy goal toward Taiwan has shifted from anti-independence and push for unification to maintaining the status quo, and in terms of political definition for both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Hu tends to silently acknowledge the ‘one China, different interpretations’ advocated by the Pan-Blue camp.  In the meantime, the experts believe that Hu has started to see President Chen Shui-bian as a rival that he can talk with rather than a target that he must attack.  

“Lien And Soong Must Not Produce An Erroneous Tragedy Of Political Marriage”

The pro-independence Liberty Times editorialized (5/12):  “The visit to China by [KMT Chairman] Lien Chan, followed by that of [PFP Chairman] James Soong, has generated a China fever in Taiwan.  Such a fever has not only undermined the anti-Communism values that have been cultivated in Taiwan over the past few decades but has jeopardized the foundation of Taiwan’s democracy.  In other words, it seems on the surface that Lien and Soong, who visited China in the capacity of opposition leaders and thus have no right to sign any agreement with China, will not be able to sell out Taiwan.  But in reality, their trips are an echo of the waves of China’s nationalism and patriotism and a move to disparage Taiwan’s most valuable system and spiritual assets of democracy and freedom.  People in the know are deeply concerned that the power of such an approach to strike a blow to Taiwan, which is tantamount to an invisible way to sell out Taiwan, will be even stronger than that of guns and missiles. …”

“Taiwan Consciousness Is The Sentiment To Identify With The People And Soil Of Taiwan; This Can Only Be Secured By Independent Sovereignty”

The pro-independence Taiwan Daily commented (5/12):  “Taiwan independence is, of course, a representation of Taiwan’s sovereignty consciousness.  It concretely reflects the actual sovereign jurisdiction and the universal values of civic awareness and self-determination.  Therefore, both the ruling and opposition parties in Taiwan and the people and government across the Strait should fully respect the will of the 23 million people who live in Taiwan.  James Soong’s statement of cross-Strait unification came from historic sentiments and even ruled out the option of Taiwan independence by the Taiwan people. We strongly oppose this and [believe] it quite disrespectful to the right of choice entitled to the people of Taiwan....  We also agree that the Taiwan economic miracle and Taiwan experience being recognized by James Soong can become topics for cross-Strait exchanges and mutual learning in the foreseeable future… Certainly, despite the Lien-Hu meeting or the Soong-Hu meeting, there can only be more rational discussions and dialogue regarding cross-Strait political negotiations and bilateral relations when the gap of democratic maturity and economic conditions between the two sides is getting closer."

 “Both [Tsinghua] Universities [in Beijing and Taipei] Share the Same Motto; Why Can’t Both Sides of the Taiwan Strait Share the Same Vision?”

The pro-unification United Daily News editorialized (5/12):  "Maybe the two sides across the Strait do not need to hurry in determining each other’s political designation by ‘free interpretations of one China.’  The reason is that whether it is called the ‘old Three Principles of the People’ or the ‘new Three Principles of the People’ at the level of ideas and ideals, as long as what is being longed for is the same direction and goal, why not start from the ‘one common vision and free interpretations. …’”

“Soong [Seeks to] Build a Platform [Based On] The 1992 Consensus; But Bian and Hu Hardly Share the Same View”

In the centrist, pro-status quo China Times Yang Yu-wen and Lin Hsin-hui wrote (5/12):  "Chen’s remarks delivered prior to Soong’s departure, which called Soong a ‘messenger’ and said there was a 10-point consensus between him and Soong but no consensus regarding the 1992 Consensus, have impaired Soong’s credibility and the justification of his role to speak [on behalf of Chen].  Even if [Chinese President] Hu Jintao accepts Chen’s view on the 1992 Consensus as conveyed by Soong, Chen has clearly denied in public any possibility to accept the 1992 Consensus.  Thus the meeting between Soong and Hu is doomed to fail....  The backlashes from the Pan-Green camp have made Chen feel highly uncertain [of the camp’s support for him], and occasionally conflicts occur [inside the DPP] about who will be Chen’s successor and which route [the DPP] should adopt.  [Given such a situation,] even Beijing can understand it if Chen decides suddenly to return to his original route.  Beijing did not expect to see a new foundation built immediately for both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resume talks.  All [people] can do now is to wait until after [this Saturday’s] National Assembly elections to see if Chen will clearly indicate his position in his speech slated for May 20, his inauguration anniversary....  Even if Soong fails to accomplish his task during this China trip, he has after all opened a window.

 "Lack Of Leadership Killing Taiwan”

The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times commented (5/12):  “Taiwan is facing a political situation that is not without its ironies.  The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) has joined hands with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to isolate President Chen Shui-bian while, on the domestic front there is bloody inter-party strife.  China doesn’t need to do much more to create all-out political chaos in Taiwan.  Meanwhile, resentment against KMT Chairman Lien Chan selling out Taiwan is building and could burst forth at any time.  Is the US, which has sought to promote cross-strait peace at any cost, satisfied to see Taiwan bleeding and China gloating?...  If Soong follows Lien’s example of rolling over for Hu, domestic divisions might deepen.  The Uriah Heep-like subservience of opposition leaders to China can only spark resentment from those who uphold ‘Taiwan consciousness.’  Already there are many on pro-independence Internet forums advocating an acceptance of war, if that’s what it takes, to realize Taiwan’s future....  And what will happen when Chen’s position becomes untenable?...  The real casualty of Chen’s political demise will be the nation’s democracy.”

"'Two Sides, One China' Is No Different From 'One China Umbrella.' If Taiwan Does Not Have Sovereignty, How Can the Two Sides Engage in Negotiation on an Equal Footing"

Pro-independence Taiwan Daily noted (5/12):  "Two sides, one China" is another expression of "one China, two systems" under which framework there will be neither equal sovereign status for the two sides nor a resumption of talks on an equal footing. James Soong's remark is self-deceiving and will not be accepted by the Taiwanese people. It is wishful thinking to expect those politicians who automatically lower themselves in front of the Chinese leaders to protect Taiwan's sovereignty."

"Lien And Soong Cannot Create Wrong Political Marriage Tragedy"

Pro-independence Liberty Times editorialized (5/12):  "Lien and Soong have visited China one after another, causing a China fever to surge in Taiwan, which has not only shaken the anti-communist values which Taiwan has cultivated for dozens of years, but has endangered the foundation of democratic politics in Taiwan... Lien and Soong are attempting to link China and Taiwan through history, culture and blood ties ... this certainly cannot bring peace for both sides of the strait, there will be no happiness to speak of for the people on both sides of the strait who are forced together, and it will only create a wrong political marriage tragedy."

"The Difference Between Writing Referendum Into the Constitution and Legalizing Taiwan Independence"

Conservative, pro-unification China Times said (5/12):   "Even though referendum is written into the constitution as a method of revising the constitution, the threshold for such constitutional revision will be high. Thus, the so-called writing Taiwan independence into the constitution will not be approved so easily. It is self-deceiving to say that writing referendum into the constitution is writing a constitution in substance. Also, anti-Taiwan independence should not be simplified as anti-Taiwan."

"If Pan-Blue Legislators Continue To Boycott the Special Arms Purchase Budget, It Will Prove That Lien, Soong Are China's Proxy in Taiwan"

The pro-Independence Taiwan Daily wrote (5/12):  "According to President Chen, the United States helped Lien Chan and James Soong obtain the government's agreement for them to go visit China in exchange of their promise to support the arms purchase. However, if the pan-blue legislators continue to boycott the special arms purchase budget, it will prove that the pan-blue camp is China's proxy in Taiwan."

“Chen’s Isolation Is His Own Doing”

The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times noted (5/11):  "As a national leader, Chen should not only have long-term goals and a comprehensive strategy for achieving them, he should also consult with the nation in the decision-making process.  But he seems to think he can see more clearly than others and can afford to ignore the people.  We do not object to Chen seeking to improve ties with China, but he cannot be allowed to play fast and loose with Taiwan’s security, or endanger Taiwan’s sovereignty and the power of the people....  The crisis that the present administration faces has been precipitated by Chen’s increasingly domineering manner.  He has now attacked former president Lee and the TSU simply to bolster his own policies – seemingly betraying those who have supported him and risking a split within the pan-green camp.  Chen has brought most of these problems on himself.  He should take the advice of former DPP chairman Lin Yi-hsiung and take a good hard look at himself.”

"Bush's Call To Hu Will Have Many Implications"

Li Hua-chiu in the pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times opined (5/11):  "That Bush chose to call Hu to discuss cross-strait affairs on the first day of People First Party Chairman James Soong's visit to China is especially significant.  It emphasizes US concern, as well as the US' right to make pronouncements, on the cross-strait issue.  In telling Hu that Beijing should engage in dialogue with President Chen Shui-bian, Bush was also underlining that the best route between Beijing and Taipei is via Washington, and that if either side crossed the "red line," it will incur US displeasure....  China believes that only by retaining the initiative will it be in a position to interpret and initiate action. If it cannot do so, then it will be forced into a passive stance. For this reason, now that the disturbance over the "Anti-Secession" Law has died down, and both Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan and Soong have visited, China is clearly pushing aside the US and boldly setting itself up as its own master....  The subtext of Hu's remarks seems to be that while China welcomes US concern about Taiwan, it does not welcome hypocritical interference....  When Bush spoke of Chen as Taiwan's "duly elected" president, he was clearly providing him with support and reducing his isolation amid his troubles. The real question regarding the Bush-Hu conversation is how Chen will be able to make use of the support offered to him by Bush, whether Hu will accept the goodwill offered by Bush, and whether they can work together to resolve cross-strait difficulties."

"A Trust Mechanism Is Unrealistic" 

Lin Cho-Shui of the pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times editorialized (5/10):  "Chinese President Hu Jintao and Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan says that the two parties have reached an agreement to set up a mutual-trust mechanism for cross-strait military issues....  military mutual-trust mechanisms are only effective in keeping the peace when both sides have military parity, so that retribution can be extracted for violation of the terms of the mechanism. Only then is it possible to ensure that the other side will adhere to the terms of the mechanism. The fact that China has seen fit to establish such mechanisms with smaller neighbors is largely because involvement by these states in China's minority communities could have serious consequences, and the mechanism can help to disentangle complex border issues....  China fully understands the significance of such mechanisms in the international community. It has laid the groundwork for dealing with possible negotiations in its "Anti-Secession" Law, which states that such a mechanism can only be established on the basis of an acceptance of "one China," and the acknowledgement that the ultimate goal of cross-strait relations is unification....  How does such a mechanism--built on the basis of "one China" and ultimate unification--differ from the Agreement on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet, which preceded Beijing's abolition of the Tibetan government and the creation of the Tibetan Autonomous Region?...  When you abandon the principle of sovereignty, and also do not have the strength to protect yourself, then the results are perfectly clear. There is clearly no need for Chen to fight for credit with Lien for establishing this kind of mutual-trust mechanism....  For China, there is no down side to this deal. It is unfortunate that Taiwan's politicians are excited about promoting this initiative. They're simply showing off their incompetence."

MALAYSIA:  "Define 92 Consensus, Restart Cross-Strait Exchanges"

Petaling Jaya-based leading government-influenced, Chinese-language daily Sin Chew Daily editorialized (5/12):  "If both sides of the strait go further in maintaining peace and stability in future, there must definitely be a foundation for a cross-strait consensus, and the foundation for this peace is the '92 consensus' [that there is one China, but different interpretations of one China]... The 'Hu-Lien meeting' [between Chinese President Hu Jintao and Taiwan opposition Kuomintang Chairman Lien Chan in Beijing on 29 April] and 'Hu-Soong meeting' [between Hu and Taiwan opposition People First Party Chairman James Soong in Beijing on 12 May] have already written a new chapter for cross-strait relations, and have laid a foundation for a 'Hu-Bian meeting' [between Hu and Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian] in the future."

SOUTH ASIA

INDIA: “Against A Sea Of Mistrust"

Rabindra Sen noted in the centrist Telegraph (5/17):  “The Sino-Japanese relationship is the key bilateral relationship - potentially the most disruptive - that is most likely to affect stability throughout east Asia. Japan and China are suspicious of each other’s aims. Needless to say, the suspicions will remain and influence their threat perceptions as well as policies. Japan fears a rising China and wants to prevent it from gaining dominance in Asia. Both Tokyo and its top ally, Washington, are uneasy about the European decision to lift the 16-year-old embargo on arms sales to China… China too has apprehensions concerning Japan’s role and policies. In the post-Cold War period, China has come to view Japan as one of its most important adversaries. China’s security concerns vis-á-vis Japan can be summed up as follows: the possibility that Japan might become a major military power, the hidden agenda of a US-Japan security alliance, and the possibility that Taiwan might be incorporated into the scope of Japan-US defense guidelines. Japan’s interest in ballistic missile defense, its military engagement with North Korean vessels, and continued refusal to specify its defense arrangement with the United States of America on the defense of Taiwan have all had an unsettling effect on Beijing. Beijing views the US-Japan defense guidelines as aimed at itself since they cover waters adjoining Japan, including the Taiwan Strait. Beijing sees Tokyo aligning itself with a US-led circle of containment that stretches from India via Southeast Asia and Australia round to Japan."

WESTERN HEMISPHERE

CANADA: "Dialogue Keeps Lid On Tensions"

Editorialist Harry Sterling commented in the centrist Winnipeg Free Press (6/2):  "Mr. Lien's controversial trip took place only weeks after China's parliament unanimously passed an 'anti-secession' law authorizing Beijing to use force against Taiwan should the current pro-independence government of President Chen attempt to declare Taiwan's formal independence.... Mr. Lien's decision to go to China was also linked to the changing nature of Taiwan itself and the implications this has for the Chinese mainlanders who've dominated Taiwanese society until recently via the Nationalist Party.... Presenting himself as someone trying to reconcile the longstanding differences between Beijing and Taipei obviously serves a number of purposes, including advancing the interests of Taiwan's business community, many of whom have large investments on the mainland. An additional incentive is that Lien Chan heartily detests his political rival, President Chen.... For its part, Beijing wants to take advantage of the divisions amongst Taiwan's political parties to undermine the growing nationalism there by inviting non-independence parties to a dialogue.... while Beijing's strategy may increase divisions amongst Taiwan's political parties, this won't necessarily alter the fact that a growing number of Taiwanese do not want reunification with the mainland.... Taiwan businessmen reportedly have invested over $100 billion (US) in the mainland and several hundred thousand Taiwanese businessmen and families now live in China. Any disruption of this mutually beneficial situation would be in no one's interests."

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