Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Taiwan Relations


DE RUEHIN #1210/01 1520832
R 010832Z JUN 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage June 1 on the KMT ticket for the 2008 presidential
election, following Legislative Speaker Wang Jin-pyng's declining to
become the running mate of Ma Ying-jeou on Thursday; on the DPP's
disputes over its legislative primary process; on the American
Chamber of Commerce's (AmCham) release of its Taiwan White Paper
Thursday; and on former President Lee Teng-hui's trip to Japan. The
pro-independence "Liberty Times" ran a banner headline on page four
that said "AmCham Calls for Direct [Cross-Strait] Links; Council for
Economic Planning and Development Alleges [That AmCham] Has
Interfered in Taiwan's Internal Affairs." The centrist, KMT-leaning
"China Times" carried the results of its latest survey on page four,
which showed that the approval rating for KMT presidential candidate
Ma Ying-jeou has dropped to a new low of 32 percent, while 21
percent of respondents said they support DPP presidential candidate
Frank Hsieh.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial commented on President Chen Shui-bian's remarks at a video
conference before the National Press Club Tuesday and on the 2008
presidential election. The article said Chen's clear elaboration of
the Taiwan-centered line and Taiwan-U.S. relations would enlighten
both the international community, in particular the United States,
and Taiwan's future leader. An op-ed piece in the pro-unification
"United Daily News" discussed AmCham's Taiwan White Paper and urged
the DPP government to listen to the views of an objective third
party. End summary.

3. U.S.-Taiwan Relations

A) "2008 Election Is the Battle between Nativist Line and Ultimate

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 500,000]
editorialized (6/1):

"... During the video conference [with the National Press Club],
President Chen elaborated to U.S. political figures and journalists
on the Taiwan-centered line and how to create a win-win situation
for Taiwan-U.S. relations, and he also pointed out the threats
caused by the rise of China. [Chen's] position was firm and his
analysis very clear; [the video conference] could thus be viewed as
a successful publicity activity. Even though Chen has only one year
left in his term, the DPP's coming to power in 2000 still marked the
unprecedented rule of Taiwan by a nativist regime, which has secured
the structure of 'one country on either side of the [Taiwan]
Strait.' How Taiwan, in the face of this brand new historical
trend, will overcome China's suppression and continue to expand its
room for survival in this adverse international environment has thus
become a difficult task. Chen's concluding of his seven years'
experience in ruling [the island] was enlightening both to the
international community and to the future president of Taiwan.
[Chen's remarks] will allow the international community, in
particular our important ally, the United States, better to
understand that Taiwan is a free, democratic country and not a
troublemaker. Also, Chen has given sincere advice to the future
state leader of Taiwan that the island will find no way out except
byticking to the line of independence and self-determination. ...

"Take Taiwan's bid to join the ASEAN as an example; this idea gave
no cause for much criticism. But the biggest problem lies in the
fact that the KMT's intent behind every move it makes is to unify
[with China]. In this context, the island's ASEAN bid is bound to
link up with direct transportation across the Taiwan Strait, and it
seems that [for the KMT,] only by doing so can Taiwan dodge the
crisis of being marginalized. But in reality, such a move will only
limit Taiwan's plan to go global inside the framework of China and
will mistake Sinicization for globalization. ... The presidential
election in 2008 will certainly be a battle between nativists and
aliens, and between freedom and authoritarianism; it will be a
critical battle for determining Taiwan's sovereignty and way of
living. ... Thus, Chen's worry about the person upholding ultimate
unification winning the [2008] election is definitely not a
groundless fear. ..."

B) "Taiwan Dragon with Bad Teeth [Should] Try on U.S. Prescription"

Lin Chin-yuan, associate professor of Tamkang University's
Department of Economics, opined in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" [circulation: 400,000] (6/1):

"... The American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) published its 2007
Taiwan White Paper Thursday in which it expressed concern over
Taiwan's economic competitiveness lagging behind the other three
Asian tigers. ... What AmCham did not mention was that South Korea,
which is competing with Taiwan, has overcome barriers and
demonstrated its grand ambition by championing the railway link
between South and North Korea. By contrast, the Taiwan tiger seems
to have grown old and doddering and lost its power and prestige.

"Despite the consideration of its own vital interests, AmCham's
prescription for Taiwan is worth contemplation, including mitigating
the incessant acrimonious political wrangling, so that economic
issues will not be elbowed out of the focus of public discourse;
speeding up the opening of [cross-Strait] direct transportation to
allow regularized cross-Strait flows of people, goods and services,
and investment; and fostering legislative transparency to reduce
corruption, holding the elected representatives accountable for
illegal and unethical activities. These views did not come from the
pro-unification faction or the Green reformers but from an objective
third party. It will be 'game over' for Taiwan if the DPP, which
has ruled Taiwan for eight years and intends to continue doing so,
turns a deaf ear to them. ..."


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