A confidential diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks showed that China was “extremely concerned” about reports that Taiwan would be sending an “official delegation” to the inauguration of US President Barack Obama in January last year.
While far from sensational, the cable provides a glimpse into the guarded diplomatic traffic between Beijing and Washington.
It also demonstrates that Beijing keeps a close watch on Taiwanese politicians, particularly members of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).
Dated Dec. 29, 2008, the cable was from then-US ambassador to Beijing Clark Randt Jr and was addressed to the US State Department in Washington.
The cable gives details of a meeting between the ambassador and Assistant Chinese Foreign Minister Liu Jieyi (劉結一) at the Foreign Ministry in Beijing.
It said Beijing was extremely concerned by reports in the -Taiwanese media that the “so-called” Legislative Yuan Speaker Wang Jin-ping (王金平) would lead an official delegation to the US for the inauguration.
Liu was especially upset that the delegation was to include former vice president Annette Lu (呂秀蓮) of the DPP, whom he described as “bent on Taiwanese independence.”
Adding that Taiwan is the most sensitive issue in Sino-US relations and that Beijing’s “one China” principle “cannot change,” Liu said that China firmly opposed official exchanges between the US and Taiwan, the cable said.
“As the inauguration is an important and official event, participation by the delegation and Annette Lu would be a serious violation of the One China policy and the three Joint Communiques, would ‘send a seriously wrong signal’ to Taiwan independence forces, and would interfere with bilateral and cross-Strait relations, Liu said,” the leaked document states.
Randt said Liu urged the US to recognize the “sensitivity and complexity” of cross-strait relations and not allow the delegation or Lu or other “independence characters” to attend, not to engage in any official US-Taiwan exchanges, and to advise the incoming administration and US Congress of the sensitivity of the matter.
Liu said the US should guard against allowing Wang and the delegation to travel to the US and to characterize the trip as “official.”
Randt responded that while representatives of the -Washington-based diplomatic corps were invited to the inauguration, no delegations were invited from abroad.
As such, there were no “official” foreign delegations attending at the invitation of the administration.
WikiLeaks has now published hundreds of diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world and were meant to remain classified for between 50 and 100 years.