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Cablegate: Media Reaction: China-Japan Relations, U.S. Foreign Policy

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0823/01 1020916
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120916Z APR 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4866
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6631
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7875

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000823

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: CHINA-JAPAN RELATIONS, U.S. FOREIGN POLICY


1. Summary: While Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies gave
front-page coverage to an accident that happened at the Kaohsiung
Zoo Wednesday evening, news coverage on April 12 also focused on the
battle over the ownership of the Taiwan Television Enterprise, one
of the island's four terrestrial TV networks, and on the 2008
presidential elections. The pro-status quo "China Times" devoted
more than half of its second page to an exclusive interview with
Vice President Annette Lu, in which a news story carried the
following headline: "Regarding the Four Nos, Lu Asks the United
States Not to Press [It] Any More." The sub-headline added
"[Taiwan] has Long since had Independent Sovereignty; the Republic
of China is Taiwan."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "China Times" op-ed
piece commented on Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan. The
article said "a profound 'tectonic movement' has occurred under the
tense surface of China-Japan relations." A separate "China Times"
analysis said the fact that the Taiwan issue was not put into words
or included in the China-Japan communique indicated that the
distrust between the two countries has yet to subside. An op-ed
piece in the limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-language
"Taipei Times," on the other hand, discussed the U.S. foreign policy
and said "a full appreciation of the strengths and particularly the
weakness of the US position in the international community provides
an indispensable context for how the US will subsequently act when
confronting new challenges." End summary.

3. China-Japan Relations

A) "Unexpected Improvement in China-Japan Relations"

Professor Lin Chong-pin of Tamkang University's Graduate Institute
of International Affairs & Strategic Studies opined in the
pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (4/12):

"Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Japan yesterday for a visit,
and it is expected [his trip] will help expand bilateral economic
cooperation. It has been six-and-a-half years since a Chinese
premier visited Japan the last time, and China-Japan ties, which
have been ice-covered for several years, will begin to thaw. The
fact that new Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had visited Beijing
October 8, 2006 before he visited the United States marked the
initial breakthrough of the bilateral ties between Japan and China.
... As a matter of fact, a profound 'tectonic movement' has
occurred on the tense surface of China-Japan relations, and one will
easily misjudge the situation if he seeks to predict the future
based on facts in the past. ...

"Japan has been lingering at the crossroads for a long time. On the
military aspect, it went eastbound and secured an alliance with the
United States, and just recently it has established a security
cooperation relationship with Australia. On the economic aspect,
Tokyo went westbound and started cooperation with China. If the
United States loses its predominant strength when being caught in
the quagmire of Iraq, while China continues its economic expansion,
Japan will face a significant challenge. ..."

B) "'Taiwan' Issue' Is Not Included in the Communique, Distrust
between China and Japan Fails to Subside"

Journalist Lin Ke-lun wrote in an analysis in the pro-status quo
"China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (4/12):

"The strategic significance of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to
Japan this time lies in the hope to establish a strategically
reciprocal relationship between China and Japan, and to outline the
rules of game for the two countries' future 'strategic' engagement
by signing an official communique. But the fact that the Taiwan
issue was not put into words and included in the communique as
Beijing desired indicates that the distrust between China and Japan
still remains. ..."

4. U.S. Foreign Policy

"What Faces the Next US President?"

Kurt Campbell, CEO and co-founder of the Center for a New American
Security, opined in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times" [circulation: 30,000] (4/12):

"With the US presidential contest in full swing, it is prudent to
reflect on what the 44th US president will inherit in terms of
foreign policy. This context will have a significant bearing on how
the US chooses to deal with potential challenges, conceivably even
tensions across the Taiwan Strait. ... So a full appreciation of
the strengths and particularly the weakness of the US position in
the international community provides an indispensable context for
how the US will subsequently act when confronting new challenges --
particularly the drama that is playing out in Asia with a rising

China, a more assertive Japan, a nuclear North Korea, and a more
militarized Taiwan Strait. ...

"To Asian friends, this contemporary foreign policy legacy and
inheritance may seem somewhat peripheral, but nothing could be
further from the truth. Asia is entering an extraordinarily dynamic
period and will confront many of its challenges with a US arguably
distracted and not at full capacity -- not a welcome reality for
those committed to peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region."


YOUNG

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