Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations
DE RUEHIN #0997/01 1222217
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 022217Z MAY 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5122
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 6706
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 7955
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000997
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: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage May 2 on Taiwan government's restoration of diplomatic
relations with Saint Lucia; the resignation of Minister of Labor
Affairs Lee Ying-yuan out of his stated dissatisfaction with Premier
Su Tseng-chang's delayed announcement of the increase in minimum
wage and his intention to campaign for former Premier Frank Hsieh in
the DPP presidential primary; and on a United Daily News poll
showing that the gap between former Premier Hsieh and Premier Su is
narrowing from 10 percentage points to 5 percentage points.
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, the pro-independence,
mass-circulation daily "Liberty Times" warned in its editorial that
pan-Blue political figures' collaboration with China would not
benefit Taiwan but would facilitate China's attempts to absorb the
island. The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News"
editorialized that the primary purposes of Taiwan's diplomacy are to
protect Taiwan's national security, to satisfy Taiwan's national
interests, and to promote Taiwan as a valuable and essential member
of the world community. The editorial added that it is unnecessary
for all of Taiwan's embassies or representative offices to devote
their primary energies to Taiwan's bids to join the United Nations
and the World Health Organization, because these tasks are long-term
goals and must be carried out by only Taiwan's representatives in
New York and Geneva. End summary.
3. Cross-Strait Relations
A) "'To Benefit Taiwan' is False, but to 'Facilitate Absorbing
Taiwan' is True"
The pro-independence, mass-circulation daily, "Liberty Times"
[circulation: 500,000] said in its editorial (05/02):
"... Just as in previous KMT-CPC forums, the 'joint suggestions'
reached after the big show of united front tactics are filled with
plans to hollow out and absorb Taiwan. From Taiwan's position,
these 'joint suggestions' will integrate Taiwan and ultimately unify
the island with China. However, these Taiwan people who play
insignificant roles [i.e. KMT Honorary Chairman Lien Chan and his
aides] have thought from China's perspective and even considered
that they should take the credit [for openness in cross-Strait
"... The goal of China's united front strategy toward Taiwan is to
integrate Taiwan's economy into that of China and define direct
transportation [across the Taiwan Strait] and travel [to Taiwan] as
domestic affairs, and to make Taiwan's young students [feel]
attached to the mainland. Since 2000, especially since 2004, China
has finally found an agent in Taiwan willing to publicly 'ally with
the communists to restrain Taiwan,' to promote China's united front
tactics, to pressure our government for proactive openness, to
impede our country from strengthening its defense capability, and to
confuse our compatriots' Taiwan identity. Those who hold flags in
Beijing yelled out slogans of 'anti-Communism' while they were in
office; now they 'ally with the Communists' after they no longer
have power. These people are paradoxical and ludicrous, and we
cannot help but sigh and regret. ..."
B) "A More Flexible Foreign Policy"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (05/02):
"The decision by the World Health Organization secretariat last week
to term Taiwan's application to join the World Health Assembly a
'non-issue,' and its declaration that Taiwan is ineligible for WHO
membership because our country is not a sovereign state, stands as
one more frustration in our efforts to secure just representation in
"... This action, as well as Beijing's denigrating arrangement to
treat Taiwan as the first 'domestic' stop for the Olympic torch
relay, reflects the PRC's decision to identify 2007 as a 'year of
opposition to Taiwan Independence' and to use every possible method
and opportunity to squeeze Taiwan's international space and negate
the reality of Taiwan's existence. ..."
"... In the run-up to the upcoming national legislative elections
and next year's presidential election, it is essential for the DPP
to re-examine both its short-term tactics and its long-term
strategies in its external policy as a foundation for pursuing
consensus toward the objective of securing Taiwan's proper place in
the international community.
"After all, if the DPP or its presidential nominee does not engage
in a thorough strategic re-examination, the KMT and its candidate,
likely to be former KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou, will do so in a less
"The most fundamental question that needs to be asked is the purpose
of Taiwan's diplomacy, which should be to both [sic] protect
Taiwan's national security, satisfy our national interests and to
promote Taiwan into a valuable and essential member of the world
"Certainly a long-term objective is to realize a position as a
"normal country" that has its rightful and recognized position on
the global stage under its own chosen name and with its own
constitution, but the positing of this goal does not necessarily
mean that it requires the allocation of the bulk of Taiwan's
diplomatic relations [sic].
"... Such goals have important strategic importance, especially in
terms of Taiwan's efforts to strive for legitimacy and justice on
the world stage, but this fact does not mean that these long-term
nominal goals require the lion's share of our limited diplomatic
resources in terms of funds, manpower or brainpower.
"We also should be realistic about the benefits of U.N. membership
for Taiwan, even if the daunting obstacles in front of this
objective [sic], especially the rigid opposition by the PRC, which
has a veto power as a permanent member of the U.N. Security Council.
"For example, U.N. membership will not necessarily guarantee
Taiwan's security from military aggression by the PRC, and hopes for
international rescue will rely less on U.N. mechanisms than on
Taiwan's main allies as well as the broader global civic society
opposed to an expansionist and authoritarian PRC.
"The prime significance of the campaigns to join the U.N. and WHO as
Taiwan is to say "no" to Beijing's "one-China" principle and its
claim on Taiwan, to affirm the sovereignty of democratic Taiwan and
its 23 million people, and to expose to the world both the genuine
nature of the PRC regime and the timidity of U.N. members in the
face of the PRC's expansionism abroad and systematic violation of
human rights at home.
"There should also be no need for all of Taiwan's offshore embassies
or representative offices to devote their primary energies to these
campaigns, which are centered mainly in New York and Geneva.
"On the multilateral front, Taiwan needs to pay greater attention
and adopt a broader strategic approach to managing its roles in the
World Trade Organization and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation
Forum, in which Taiwan already has membership.
"Although the WTO is called the "economic United Nations," the
Geneva-based world trade body increasingly deals with issues that
transcend purely economic or trade considerations and extend into
the spheres of environmental protection, labor rights, cultural
development and geopolitics and therefore requires strategic
leadership and coordination at the presidential level, not simply
the Ministry of Economic Affairs, in order to ensure that our actual
role in the WTO reflects the values and interests of a "democratic
and progressive" Taiwan.
"Scarcely less important is APEC, which is a crucial focus for
contention between the United States, Japan, the PRC and the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations to deal with the rise of
Asian regionalism and also to map out coordinated programs to cope
with regional development issues spanning the two sides of the
"Another question of priorities involves the drive to secure
bilateral free trade agreements, which is now focused on the United
States and Japan, which no longer have former relations [sic:
probably means 'formal relations'] with Taipei and are thus unlikely
to ink FTAs with Taiwan in the near future but will not be loath to
use the process to press Taiwan for more trade concessions.
"A more pragmatic approach would be for Taiwan to sign FTAs with its
diplomatic partners and adopt a role as a "leading goose" and market
to help lift the economic levels of our allies and consolidate such