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


DE RUEHIN #1156/01 1430853
R 230853Z MAY 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies continued to focus
news coverage May 23 on the dispute between the central government
and the Taipei city government over the renaming of the Chiang
Kai-shek Memorial Hall; on the issues to be discussed during the
current Legislative Yuan session; on the year-end legislative
elections; and on other local issues. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, as a follow-up on Tuesday's news analysis, the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" editorialized on AIT Taipei
Director Stephen Young's call for further opening of the economic
relations across the Taiwan Strait at a speech to Taiwan's Chinese
National Association of Industry and Commerce Monday. The article
explained in detail why, in their opinion, Taiwan must not further
open its economic relations with China and urged Washington to look
at cross-Strait relations from a strategic perspective rather than
focusing on trade and economics alone. End summary.

"When Looking at Cross-Strait Relations, the United States Should
Not Just Focus on Trade and Economics and Thus Overlook the
Strategic Perspective"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 500,000]
editorialized (5/23):

"AIT Taipei Director Stephen Young said during a speech at the
annual assembly of Taiwan's Chinese National Association of Industry
and Commerce (CNAIC) Monday that a critical way to improve the
U.S.-Taiwan trade partnership is for Taiwan further to open its
economic relationship with China. He noted that Taiwan firms should
observe high standards of environmental protection and labor rights
in China. This can help speed the development of a modern China
that is a constructive partner for both the United States and
Taiwan, he added. The fact that Director Young spoke in front of
the president of the host country using the language of the host
country clearly indicated that he intended to convey a certain

"One can still recall Director Young's press conference at the end
of last year, in which he requested that Taiwan pass the arms
procurements budget as early as possible. During his press
conference on May 3, Young addressed again that China has
continuously deployed many missiles over the past decade, posing a
serious threat to Taiwan. Director Young also expressed confusion
over Taiwan's failure to pass the long-stalled national defense
budget, including the part earmarked for the PAC-III missiles.
Young's overtones showed that he is clearly aware of China's threats
against Taiwan. While no signs showed that China's threats would be
possibly reduced, [the United States] still requested that Taiwan
further open its economic relations with China. Isn't this
something similar to 'damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead?' [lit.
'clearly knowing there are tigers in the mountain but going up the
tigers' mountain anyway'] ...

"Perhaps Director Young is unaware that in Taiwan, the so-called
'further opening of economic relations with China' is exactly the
excuse used by those pan-Blue, pro-China people to boycott the
national defense budget! According to these people's theory, peace
across the Taiwan Strait will become possible as long as Taiwan
expands trade and economic relations with China, removes its ceiling
on investment [in China], and open the three links; and such a
policy option, as a result, will render the national defense budget
unnecessary. We can thus imagine that Director Young's 'opening
theory' will be quoted by these people [as an excuse] to impose
pressure on the government to liberalize its policy on investment in
China and thereby to oppose all the defense-related budgets. This
is perhaps not a result that Director Young will be happy to see, is

"As in the case of the United States and other countries, Taiwan's
external trade and economic policies, particularly those toward
China, are part of the nation's policies as a whole. Taiwan cannot
proactively liberalize itself and move westbound [i.e., toward
China] blindly, at least not before China's threats are removed, or
there will be serious consequences in terms of the island's economic
security, national security, and even national identity. Director
Young has repeatedly urged our country's Legislative Yuan to pass
the arms procurements budget, and this indicates that he is fully
aware that there are not simply trade and economics in the
relationship between Taiwan and China. Perhaps Director Young is
also facing pressure from the U.S. business sector, but it might not
serve the United States' interests as a whole if one simply focuses
on trade and economics while overlooking the strategic perspective!
Just as Director Young said, the United States is not only Taiwan's
best but also the only security partner. It is because of this that
Taiwan, in addition to working in line strategically with the
U.S.-Japan security system, also hopes to sign a free trade
agreement (FTA) with the United States, in an attempt to avoid
China's economic magnetization and to strengthen Taiwan's economic
security. It is a pity, however, that for many years the United
States has been unwilling to sign an FTA with Taiwan. Instead, it

offered most-favored-nation treatment to China, while Taiwan is
constantly facing pressure from the United States, demanding that
the island keep on liberalizing its [policy toward] investment in
China. It may well be asked: How would the Taiwan people possibly
find a job and how would they survive if Taiwan's industries were
hollowed out because of the westbound [policy]?

"Moreover, when it comes to 'helping speed the development of a
modern China,' China's economy has been developing rapidly over the
past few years, given the boost of international capital, including
Taiwan's. But China did not use these resources to improve its
people's lives and undergo democratic reforms. Instead, it has been
expanding its military buildup in plain sight and, to name just one
[of its moves], it has deployed around one thousand missiles
targeting Taiwan. China's national defense budget leaps at a
two-digit speed each year, rendering it capable of invading Japan's
territory, stalking the USS Kitty Hawk carrier battle group and
test-firing missiles to destroy the satellites in a short period of
time. This is definitely not the kind of modernization that
Director Young expects, rather [it is a] dangerous military
modernization, and Taiwan is the one that bears the brunt of China's
military expansion!

"The way that China applies the economic united-front [tactics] on
Taiwan [shows that] what Beijing covets is to annex Taiwan; by no
means can it become a constructive partner to Taiwan. In this
context, Taiwan must do all it can to safeguard the status of its
independent sovereignty. It is also based on such consideration
that Taiwan had better not open itself proactively to China without
limitations. Since the United States views Taiwan as its security
partner, it can surely understand that Taiwan's economic and trade
policy toward China must be in concert with its policies as a whole,
which are aimed at maintaining the status of Taiwan's independent
sovereignty. Let's just imagine: Taiwan has to confront China's
military threats, economic united-front tactics, and diplomatic
containment against this island on the one hand -- moves that are
all aimed at eradicating Taiwan's sovereignty -- while it has to
withstand the United States' requests that the island further open
its economic relations with China and while Taiwan's space is
constantly squeezed by China's manipulation. [In this context,]
isn't it the case that Taiwan is offered no option but to pick the
road of 'ultimate unification [with China]'? Everyone knows that
Director Young is a friend of Taiwan. He would do well to
contemplate this situation for Taiwan."


© Scoop Media

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