Powell wants China / Taiwan negotiations?

What game do you think everybody’s playing here?

Here’s how I read it:

Chen Shui-bian: Gave a speech which seems conciliatory, but really isn’t. He knows full well China will insist on “one China,” which he didn’t mention, so he must have meant for his olive branch to be futile.

Hu Jintao: Will insist on “one China” as a precondition for political talks. He can’t very well let that slide even if he wants to, for fear of his colleagues. The usual pattern for China is to try to get the other side to concede as much as possible beforehand, and keep upping the demands. (Cf. Tibet.) For most Chinese politicians, Taiwan is of no real urgency. Military people see it as an opportunity, and an excuse for big budgets. (Wonder if that means they’d balk at solving this “problem”?)

Powell: I think he’s mainly trying to make arm sales to Taiwan more palatable to China, by joining them with something that seems tilted in China’s favor.I don’t think he expects actual progress.

Bush: Irked at Chen Shui-bian, but believes Taiwan necessary to new American empire.