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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Press divided on Chen speech

The strait separating Taiwan from the Chinese mainland also divides opinion on Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian's inauguration speech on Thursday.

The official Chinese media are unanimous in denouncing the speech. They accuse the "slippery" Mr Chen of hiding his goal of Taiwanese independence behind the "rhetoric" of goodwill.

In Taiwan, some praise his conciliatory tone, while others believe he went too far in appeasing Beijing.

Rhetoric can't hide Chen's true intent.

Headline in Beijing's official China Daily, in English

What is said on 20 May is not important - everyone knows Chen is sticking to the path towards independence

Headline in Beijing's Guoji Xianqu Daobao

Chen Shui-bian's latest offer of "goodwill" turns out to be another sham... Many wonder whether his domestic audience was the main target of Chen's speech. What most of the overseas audience heard, however, were the very latest and most beguiling words of a slippery politician.

Beijing's China Daily in English

Taiwan scholars pointed out that one cannot see any genuine goodwill to improve cross-strait relations in Chen Shui-bian's speech. He was just playing with words, while at the same time sticking to his "Taiwan independence" position. There will still be crises in cross-strait relations in the next four years.

Chinese official Xinhua News Agency web site

Chen Shui-bian is a cunning politician adept at playing with words. He tried very hard to play with beautiful words and evade issues. Though he didn't dare to shout aloud... "Taiwan is an independent sovereign country", he nevertheless played verbal tricks in preparation for continuing his separatist activities in the future... It can predicted that the cross-strait situation in the next four years will be extremely serious!

Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao (Beijing-backed daily)

The speech was long on talk of inclusion, stability and the "middle road". It raises hopes that Mr Chen will use his term to heal rifts with the opposition and Beijing. But, on the latter score especially, there will be little room for manoeuvre and a continued need for the delicate, three-way diplomacy between Taiwan, Beijing and Washington that led up to yesterday's speech.

Hong Kong's South China Morning Post in English

An inauguration speech full of compromises.

Headline in Taipei's Central Daily News

President Chen really didn't disappoint us... [His] speech was really intended to send a message of goodwill, alleviate the conflict between government and opposition and try to mend cross-strait relations. Of course, the speech may not necessarily have satisfied all parties involved. But at least the recent misunderstandings and rivalry probably won't deteriorate any further. In the days to come, will President Chen fulfil the promises he made in the speech? We will need to watch his actions!

Taiwan's China Times

Taiwan will resist to the utmost the shotgun wedding that is the only relationship Beijing has on offer. If Beijing wants Taiwan, it has to woo it to win it... Foreign powers that want to see better cross-strait relations need to take note of this and put pressure on China to change its ways, not on Taiwan to zip its lip. Chen could have pointed this out with far more force yesterday. What a shame he didn't.

Taipei's Taipei Times in English

The main theme of the inauguration speech was dissolving "misunderstandings". It could also be said that the theme was to correct "mistakes". As a result, the whole speech was full of evasion from US and Chinese pressure and vacillation between the [pro-independence] green flag and the national flag [of the Taiwanese Republic of China].

Taipei's United Daily News

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

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