Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. On Cross-Strait Trade, U.S.-China


DE RUEHIN #1147/01 1420858
R 220858Z MAY 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies continued to
focus news coverage May 22 on the cabinet shuffle; on the dispute
between the central government and the Taipei city government over
the renaming of the Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall to "National
Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall;" and on other local issues. All
major Chinese-language and English-language dailies carried in
inside pages remarks by AIT Taipei Director Stephen Young to
Taiwan's Chinese National Association of Industry and Commerce
(CNAIC) Monday, to the effect that expanded cross-Strait ties will
enhance the U.S.-Taiwan partnership.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" criticized President Chen's remarks
during Monday's CNAIC speech, saying that one can hardly tell
whether Chen is for or against the deepening of cross-Strait ties.
An analysis in the pro-independence "Liberty Times," however lashed
out at AIT Director Young. The article said that, given the United
States' leadership in the international community, it is China, not
Taiwan, that Washington should impose pressure on, and the U.S.
should demand that China remove all the barriers to cross-Strait
trade talks. An editorial in the limited-circulation, conservative,
pro-unification, English-language "China Post" discussed the
U.S.-China Strategic Economic Dialogue. The article said tangible
results are expected from the dialogue, despite the disputes between
China and the U.S. A separate "Apple Daily" column discussed
inter-Korean relations and said it is likely that the situation in
Northeast Asia will have a dramatic development. End summary.

3. U.S. on Cross-Strait Trade

A) "Small Bird A-Bian"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000]
editorialized (5/22):

"President Chen said yesterday that, 'Reform is like a bird; too
tight a grip kills the bird, but too loose a grip sets the bird
free.' At a loss for what he meant, aren't you? Is Chen for or
against the opening of cross-Strait relations, anyway? All we know
is that, under his rule, 'the bird of [our] youth is gone forever,'
and that everyone's life has become 'mediocre' over the past seven
years. ...

"Stephen Young has made it very clear: There is no way Taiwan can
obtain 'most favored nation' trade treatment [sic; they mean a Free
Trade Agreement] from the United States unless it liberalizes its
relations with China. A-Bian's reply was this mysterious 'bird
theory' to dismiss it for the time being. He even blamed other
people by saying that the [local] businesses are afraid of being
labeled, and government employees are afraid of drawing criticism
for every move they make. He made it sound as if he is the one that
strongly upholds liberalization, while the others are resisting it.

B) "Stupid! The Problem Is on the Other Side [of the Taiwan

Journalist Tsou Jiing-wen noted in the pro-independence "Liberty
Times" [circulation: 500,000] (5/22):

"Stephen Young requested in the presence of President Chen again
yesterday that the [Taiwan] government open its trade and economic
[relations] with China. Young's agenda was very clear; he was
pleading for the interests of U.S. firms. But it is a great pity
that his statements were too sketchy, and he has obscured the focus
of the issue and mixed up his target. Given the United States'
super powerful strength in the international community, it is China
that Washington should impose its pressure on; it can never be

"Taiwan's signing a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the United
States and Taiwan's trade and economic policy toward China are two
separate issues. Young's mixing the two into one was a lousy way of
lobbying. One can even turn it around and say that only when
Taiwan's signing of FTAs with countries such as the United States
and Japan progresses smoothly can the island gain more confidence in
its efforts to resist marginalization, which will then contribute to
Taiwan's review of the China issue. Since the United States [said
it] does not want to sign the [free trade] agreement, there is no
premise here; why is it that Washington expects Taiwan to take a
blind move?

"In addition, what kind of impact does the status quo across the
Taiwan Strait have on the interests of U.S. firms? And which
businesses are affected? Young needs to be held responsible to
verify them and offer specific examples of such barriers. He must
not make unwarranted accusations, which are useless to offer correct
remedies to solve the problems and are not conducive to the

relationship between [our] two countries. ...

"Anyone who is familiar with the process of cross-Strait talks is
aware of Taiwan's clear stance toward the issue over these past few
years -- namely, [Taiwan] wants to discuss opening cross-Strait
transportation on an equal footing [with China], and the talks will
start with cargo transportation first, followed by passenger
flights. Taiwan has never said it does not want direct
transportation. But China has made it clear that it wants to use
political issues to obstruct economic ones, and it insists on using
[what China calls] domestic flights [i.e., flights between Mainland
China and Taiwan, which Taiwan considers to be international
flights] to deny Taiwan's plan of opening its international flights
to various countries, a move that has thus stalled the schedule of
[cross-Strait] opening. Who is the troublemaker here? How can
Young not be aware of it? Given the United States' leading role, it
should, if it has the guts, go and demand that China remove all
barriers. What grounds does it have to turn around and ask Taiwan
to sign a disgraceful agreement?

"As a representative of the U.S. State Department, the United
States' interests as a whole that Young has in mind should include
the United States' strategic interests in Asia and should not be
limited to the interests of certain U.S. firms. Young needs to be
prudent in his words and deeds so as to grasp precisely the
principle of proportion.

"The fact that a [foreign] envoy can speak out loudly and
straightforwardly in front of a Taiwan president also indicates that
our government's team in charge of negotiations with the United
States has been in an inferior or even an ineffective position for a
long time. The results this team has achieved under the table have
been dissatisfying, so it has failed to seek other support
successfully to safeguard Taiwan's national interests. The
consequence was that China is able to join hands with other big
countries to make whatever demands it wants from Taiwan. Who should
be held responsible to put to right [such a poorly managed team]?
[The government] must not give an evasive reply [to this question]

4. U.S.-China Strategic Dialogue

"U.S. Reliant on China Trade"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (5/22):

"The second U.S.-China 'Strategic Economic Dialogue' meetings are
being held in Washington today and tomorrow. ... In the December
SED in Beijing, both sides walked away with a list of symbolic
agreements, such as allowing the New York Stock Exchange and the
Nasdaq Stock Market to open offices in China, and promising to work
together on more commercial air travel between the two countries.
Change will prove difficult, largely because U.S. companies have
become so dependent on the Chinese economy that tighter rules on
imports stand to harm the U.S. economy, too. ... Despite the
disputes, tangible results from the dialogue are expected to include
an agreement on the relaxation on foreign ownership restrictions of
Chinese security firms, new commercial flights between the two
countries and American technology to promote energy efficiency and
pollution control in China."

5. Inter-Korean Relations

"Crossing the 38 Degrees North Latitude"

Columnist Antonio Chiang commented in the mass-circulation "Apple
Daily" [circulation: 500,000] (5/22):

"A few days ago, trains from North and South Korea respectively
crossed the military borderline of 38 degrees north latitude [i.e.,
the 38th parallel]. This was an unprecedented development in the
past 56 years. Regardless of the various interpretations of this
development -- whether it marked the beginning of unification
between Seoul and Pyongyang, or it is simply a one-time political
deal in which each side takes what it needs, once the trains started
moving and had moved halfway already, it appeared likely that the
situation in Northeast Asia will have a dramatic development. ...

"Both North and South Korea are for unification, but Seoul sees it
with nationalistic, romantic passion, while Pyongyang calmly
calculates the risks and interests of every move. Starting from
[former President] Kim Dae-Jung to Roh Moo-Hyun, South Korea has
proactively upheld the sunshine policy that calls for trade
cooperation, peace, and prosperity. Even though such a policy has
received wide criticism from the opposition party because of
Pyongyang's lack of active response, Seoul remains firm and stuck to
this policy. Pyongyang, on the other hand, used it as a bargaining

chip to demand more loans and relief from South Korea, just like
what it did during the nuclear talks with the United States."


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