Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Japan Security Meeting,


DE RUEHIN #1018/01 1262222
R 062222Z MAY 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Almost all major Chinese-language papers in Taiwan gave
front-page coverage to New York Yankees pitcher Wang Chien-ming, who
is listed by "Time Magazine" as one of the 100 most influential
people in the world. The English-language dailies, however, all
gave front-page coverage to AIT Director Stephen Young, who said in
a Thursday press conference that Taiwan should focus on
strengthening its defensive capabilities and should move to pass the
arms procurement budget as early as possible. The pro-independence
"Liberty Times" ran a banner headline on page twelve that said
"Stephen Young: Ruling and Opposition Parties Blame Each Other for
Failing to Pass the Arms Procurement Bill." The pro-unification
"United Daily News" ran a news story on page eight with the headline
"The United States Does Not Approve of Taiwan's Development of
Offensive Weapons."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a news analysis in the
pro-status quo "China Times" discussed AIT Director Young's remarks
that "this is not the first time that cross-Strait issue was not
included in the joint declaration of the Two-plus-Two meeting." The
article said Young's statement seemed to dwell on the minor points
while avoiding touching the core issue. With regard to
U.S.-China-Taiwan relations, an editorial in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" discussed Deputy Secretary of State
John Negroponte's recent remarks before the U.S. Congress and said
his comments are "just a sad reminder that the current US
administration is a parody of the kind of statesmanship that once
existed in Washington." An op-ed piece in the "Taipei Times" said
U.S.-Taiwan relations are at a sensitive juncture requiring
discussions on a regular basis. End summary.

3. U.S.-Japan Security Meeting

"The United States' and Japan's Avoiding Discussion of Controversial
Cross-Strait Situation Has Impact on Taiwan"

Washington correspondent Liu Ping noted in an analysis in the
pro-status quo "China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (5/4):

"... [AIT Director] Stephen Young said in Taipei that 'this is not
the first time that the cross-Strait issue was not mentioned' in the
joint declaration of the Two-plus-Two meeting. But such a statement
gave [people] the feeling that [he was] dwelling on the minor points
but avoiding touching the core of the matter. This is because there
are always different forms of documents coming out in the wake of
the Two-plus-Two meeting. The 'common strategic goals' established
in 2005 was an original approach, so for any follow-on changes, one
must compare them with this historical document.

"Two 'Two-plus-Two' meetings were held since 2005, but the two
meetings were held mainly to discuss the re-alignment of the U.S.
military. As a result, there was no real record of 'common
strategic goals.' But for this year, the sentence regarding
'encouraging both sides of the Taiwan Strait to resolve their
disputes peacefully' was removed from the results of this year's
meeting. This is what it really matters. During the joint press
conference afterwards, a sensitive reporter sensed the change and
thus questioned U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Even
though Rice personally indicated that 'there is no change in the
policy,' such an approach [i.e. the removal of the cross-Strait
issue] was very special, given that the fundamental situation across
the Taiwan Strait remains basically intact. ..."

4. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

A) "All Too Hard for the State Department"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (5/4):

"... But what was disturbing on Tuesday was the interaction between
Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte and his interlocutors on
the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Republican Representative
Steve Chabot questioned Negroponte over the possibility of changing
the government's stance on allowing senior Taiwanese officials to
visit Washington. ... Unsurprisingly, Negroponte poured cold water
on the idea. ... What is disturbing about these comments is
Negroponte's apparent ignorance of the subtleties and nuance of the
'one China' policy.

"A seasoned diplomat should be able to discern the difference
between a 'view that there is one government of China' and
acknowledging 'that Chinese on either side of the Taiwan Strait
maintain there is but one China.' The formulation of 'one China' in
the communique is a masterpiece of diplomatic slipperiness. What
does it mean to 'acknowledge'? What does it mean to 'maintain'?
And most important, how does one define 'Chinese on either side of
the Taiwan Strait'? The phrasing of the communique was designed to
give the US government as much wiggle-room as possible. This is

because the officials who devised it were not arrogant enough to
assume that they knew what the future might hold for Taiwan and
China and their relationship with the US

"Negroponte's comments, however, are just a sad reminder that the
current US administration is a parody of the kind of statesmanship
that once existed in Washington. The unthinking embrace of what is
basically the Chinese definition of 'one China,' rather than a
defense of the longstanding US policy, shows how far Washington has
fallen in its lack of imagination and competence. There is no one
in the US administration or in the world who knows how the
'situation' in the Taiwan Strait will be resolved. Yet the Bush
administration continues to indicate that it not only believes it
know what the future holds for this complex situation, but that it
is simply tired of dealing with the complexities of Taiwan
altogether. How unfortunate that policymakers in Washington no
longer seek to stand on the shoulders of giants, instead of
preferring to be led by dwarves."

B) "US, Taiwan Ties at a Sensitive Time"

Nat Bellocchi, a former chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan
and now a special adviser to the Liberty Times Group, opined in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] (5/4):

"... Time has brought some changes. Despite its preference not to
intervene, the US has found that dealing with a free democracy isn't
always easy. The US sees some differences: credibility, unclear
communication, constitutional reform, the meaning of the status quo
and the lack of military support, to name a few. Taiwan also sees
differences: a lack of transparency, the US' unilaterally
established rules of engagement with Taiwan and a lack of high-level
meetings, among others. All of these require discussions on a
regular basis. ...

"The political changes in Taiwan are already beginning. The US is
weighing which of the two parties in Taiwan will win in the
legislature and the presidency and what impact the result will have
on US interests with China and other East Asian countries. Some
better form of dialogue between the US and Taiwan has long been
needed, and it will be needed in the years ahead. ..."


© Scoop Media

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