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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Name Change Campaign, Former Kmt

VZCZCXYZ0011
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0386/01 0460700
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 150700Z FEB 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4153
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6379
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7614

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000386

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - LLOYD NEIGHBORS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: TAIWAN'S NAME CHANGE CAMPAIGN, FORMER KMT
CHAIRMAN MA YING-JEOU'S INDICTMENT


1. Summary: The focus of coverage in Taiwan's major
Chinese-language dailies February 15 was the aftermath of the
indictment on corruption charges of former KMT Chairman Ma
Ying-jeou, who announced Tuesday evening that he would resign as
party chairman but run for president next year; and on the DPP's
2008 presidential primary. The pro-status quo "China Times'
front-paged a banner headline that read "To Avoid KMT Split, Lien
[Chan] Invites Ma [Ying-jeou] and Wang [Jin-pyng] to Discuss General
Situation Tomorrow." The front-page headline of the pro-unification
"United Daily News," on the other hand, said "Bian Plans to Dissuade
[Annette] Lu and Yu [Shyi-kun] from Presidential Primary."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an op-ed in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's largest-circulation
daily, pointed out the inconsistencies in U.S. policy. The article
asked how the State Department could refer to Taiwan's state-run
enterprises as entities administered by the "Taiwan authorities,"
while at the same time saying it does not support Taiwan changing
the "terminology" of these entities. Two English-language dailies -
the limited-circulation, pro-independence "Taipei Times" and "Taiwan
News" - editorialized on Ma's indictment and his surprise
announcement to run in the 2008 presidential election. Both
articles agreed that "Taiwan's 2008 presidential sweepstakes is now
underway" and that Ma's eyes "are now firmly and publicly on the
presidency." End summary.

3. Taiwan's Name Change Campaign

"Inconsistency in U.S. Policy"

Shen Chieh, a U.S.-based freelance journalist, opined in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 550,000]

"Taiwan's rectification of the names of its public enterprises is a
domestic affair. Even the United States does not regard it as a
move to change the island's 'national title;' it therefore did not
involve the 'Four Nos' pledge made by President Chen Shui-bian. ...
It is all right if Washington could support the name change of
Taiwan's 'state-run' enterprises; it does no harm if it 'does not
support' it. Taiwan wants to construct its status as a normal
sovereign state. How can the island be viewed as a sovereign state
if it has to stop whenever Washington said it does 'not support' it?
..."

4. Former KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou's Indictment

A) "The Blooding of Ma Ying-jeou"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (2/15):

"If former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Ma Ying-jeou is
to be believed, his indictment for corruption represents the 'mortal
wounding' of democracy. This is flamboyant twaddle, but impressive
for its ramping up of passionate rhetoric, which has never been Ma's
strong point. ... The idea peddled by some wire agencies that Ma
has suffered a 'fatal blow' is utter nonsense. His eyes are now
firmly and publicly on the presidency, and his first priority is to
secure the KMT nomination. This is not a done deal, but if
Tuesday's events have taught us anything, it is that Ma is now,
finally, spoiling for a fight. The handsome effete has been
blooded, and his pan-blue-camp supporters are still standing by his
side: Let the presidential campaign begin."

B) "The Race Begins"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (2/15):

"The surprise announcement by former Kuomintang chairman and
ex-mayor of Taipei City Ma Ying-jeou of his candidacy for the March
2008 presidential election hours after being indicted on corruption
charges marked the official start of the final leg of Taiwan's
presidential sweepstakes. ... In the meantime, the overnight
transformation of Ma's crafted image from a pristine godlike
statesman to gutter politician and his abandonment of the fraudulent
'oppose corruption save Taiwan' signboard will unavoidably tarnish
the KMT's overall attempts to whitewash its past and present record
of institutional corruption and arrogance and torpedo hopes of
appealing to middle voters. Faced with this dramatic reversal in
the political environment, the DPP's top priority should be
maintaining the high ground of a united DPP against a divided KMT
and displaying that the government party and its leaders have the
people and Taiwan first in their hearts. ... Taiwan's 2008
presidential sweepstakes is now underway and the first candidate
past the post may not be the most richly endowed 'horse' anxious to
'win back Taiwan,' but the team that works together to offer the
best future vision and shows the greater resolution to improve the
CHAIRMAN MA YING-JEOU'S INDICTMENT

lives of the Taiwan people."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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