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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations, Iran

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0712/01 0870856
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280856Z MAR 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4655
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6537
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7784

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000712

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: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS, IRAN


1. Summary: As the 2008 presidential elections and the alleged
scandal involving the privatization of the Taiwan Television
Enterprise continued to receive considerable coverage in the Taiwan
media on March 28, news coverage also focused on Legislative Yuan
Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's planned trip to Beijing in April and other
local issues. The pro-status quo "China Times" ran a banner
headline on page two that read "Wang Jin-pyng to Set Foot in
Mainland [China] in April and Meet with Hu Jintao."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "China Times" news
analysis discussed the "U.S. factor" behind Wang's planned visit to
Beijing in April. The article said Washington is very concerned
about whether the cross-Strait relations will be calm and tranquil
during the remainder of President Chen Shui-bian's term. With
regard to Iran, a "China Times" column asked why Washington does not
offer a security commitment to Iran, as it did for North Korea. An
op-ed piece in the pro-unification "United Daily News" discussed the
new Iranian crisis and said Washington is most worried that bin
Laden will spoil its plan and force the United States to pull more
of its soldiers into the quagmire of Afghanistan. End summary.

3. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

"'U.S. Factor' is an Important Hand Pushing for [Wang Jin-pyng's]
Ice-Breaking Trip"

Journalists Ho Po-wen and Hsiao Hsu-tsen noted in an analysis in the
pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (3/28):

"... The reason why Wang Jin-pyng is able to break the ice [across
the Taiwan Strait] in April is, without a doubt, because Chen
Shui-bian, eyeing the campaign situation for 2008, intended to boost
Wang's influence so that Wang can run neck and neck with Ma
Ying-jeou. But the United States' taking a stand [for Wang] is in
reality a more critical factor. In March 2006, AIT Taipei Director
publicly called upon Wang, hoping that he 'could serve as the
pushing hand that breaks the ice across the Taiwan Strait and foster
both sides to resume dialogue as early as possible.'

"Classified sources revealed that Wang has recently informed the
United States in person via formal diplomatic channels of his
intention to visit mainland China in April. High-ranking U.S.
officials, in addition to showing appreciation to Wang for his
respect of Washington by not 'surprising' the United States,
expressed a welcome attitude to Wang's trip to the mainland. U.S.
officials even relayed a message from the White House to Wang which
said that the U.S. government was really upset with Chen's making
the 'Four Wants and One Without' announcement without notifying
Washington in advance. With regard to the way Chen 'played his
card' during the last year of his term, a U.S. official pointed out
directly that 'this is a matter of personal traits!' Yet what
Washington really cares is that Chen, despite the fact that he is
already a 'lame duck' in the legislative body, still insisted on
'showing his card.' Washington is very concerned about whether
cross-Strait relations will be calm and tranquil in this year. ..."


4. Iran

A) "Why Doesn't the United States Offer a Security Commitment to
Iran?"

The "International Outlook" column in the pro-status quo "China
Times" [circulation: 400,000] (3/28):

"... During the fourth round of the 'Six-Party Talks' in 2005, the
United States even requested that Pyongyang not be allowed to
possess any civilian nuclear facilities because such facilities can
be transformed for military use and develop nuclear weapons at any
time. Pyongyang disregarded Washington's request then and has now
developed nuclear weapons. The United States, fearing that Iran
will someday turn its civilian nuclear facilities to developing
weapons, has been doing its best to stop Iran's engineering of
transforming uranium [i.e. uranium enrichment]. But to refine and
extract concentrated uranium is what Iran needs to do to protect its
future security, so it will never abandon such a plan and will
surely follow the lead of North Korea. The [security] commitment
Washington offered to North Korea already came too late. If so, why
not make an early [security] commitment to Iran, so that the country

will not follow in Pyongyang's footsteps? Why has the Western world
never thought of it from this perspective?"

B) "Oil, Oil, It's All Because of Iran"

Kao Hsiung-poh, a Taipei-based strategic commentator, opined in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (3/28):

"... The consequences of U.S. war in Iraq are a mixture of success
of failure. The success lies in the fact that Washington has, after

all, controlled Iraq's oil; other countries cannot possibly buy oil
from Iraq without the United States' approval. The United States
would probably like to control Iran's oil in the same manner,
particularly the oil resources near the borders of Iraq and Iran.
But Washington failed to foresee that the lasting chaos in Iraq has
caused the hike in international oil prices, which has benefited
Russia in way that allows it to recover some of its national
strength. This is the failure of the U.S. war in Iraq.

"If the consequences of Washington using force against Iran are even
higher oil prices for a long period and zero chance for the United
States to build several 'durable' huge military bases in Iran to
safeguard its inland [oil] route to Central Asia against any lateral
threats from Russia, Russia will then enjoy more a favorable
strategic situation than the United States. ... The new 'Iranian
crisis' has resulted in a surge in international oil prices, and the
Saudi Arabian card did not seem to work this time. The United
States' options to address this crisis are: to continue searching
for possible ways to lower oil prices for a lasting period in the
future; to try to use a blitzkrieg strategy quickly to control
Iran's oil and to build huge military bases in Iran with no intent
to completely occupy and rule the country. What Washington is most
worried about now is that bin Laden will spoil its plan and force
the United States to put more attention and pull more of its
soldiers into the quagmire of Afghanistan, and in the meantime, Iran
will gain time rapidly to strengthen its defensive capabilities."

WANG

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