Cablegate: Media Reaction: Iraq, U.S.' Taiwan Policy
DE RUEHIN #1549/01 1920803
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 110803Z JUL 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5941
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7012
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8258
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001549
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - BROOKE SPELLMAN
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: IRAQ, U.S.' TAIWAN POLICY
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies continued to
focus news coverage July 11 on the legislators' elections and the
presidential election slated for early 2008. Almost all papers also
reported in the first few pages that footwear prices in Taiwan will
go up by 30 percent after the Ministry of Finance announced Tuesday
that it will levy an anti-dumping tax of 43.46 percent for five
years on shoes imported from China.
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" discussed the ongoing U.S. war in
Iraq. The article said the war has dealt a catastrophic blow to the
U.S. image, making the U.S. prestige in the international community
drop to a record low. A column in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" also chimed in by saying the war in Iraq has produced numerous
seeds of hatred for the United States in the Islamic countries,
which will become booby traps for the United States in the future.
An op-ed piece in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times," on the other hand, discussed the United States' Taiwan
policy and said now is the time "for the U.S. to reconsider its
policy toward Taiwan in response to the changing climate in East
Asia." End summary.
A) "A War Piled up with Blood and Cash"
Columnist Antonio Chiang said in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily"
[circulation: 520,000] (7/11):
"... The war in Iraq has dealt a catastrophic blow to the U.S. image
and has slashed the U.S. prestige in the international community to
a record low. The Bush administration's abuse of hard power has
resulted in severe damage of the United States' soft power. The
Democratic Party, [as a result,] regained control of both the Senate
and the House during last year's mid-term elections, while the
morale of the Republican Party collapsed. The Bush team, which has
been floating up and down in the mighty current of war, has failed
to find anything it can hold on to. A huge number of American
soldiers who have given their blood and lives in Iraq were unaware
of what they were fighting for. It is fortunate that the United
States adopts a voluntary military service system now, instead of
the conscription system used during the Vietnam War, or the anti-war
sentiments would have shattered the Bush administration by now."
B) "Is [President] Bush a 'Transformer of Deception?'"
Journalist Shen Pei-chun wrote in the "United Notes" column in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (7/11):
"... Within four years, [U.S. President George W.] Bush has used the
fire of revenge as a hotbed, which created numerous seeds of hatred
against the United States in Islamic countries. These seeds will
grow into booby traps for the United States in the future, and no
one will be able to predict when they will go off or how destructive
they will be. The war in Iraq was supposed to be a war on
terrorism, but the war itself has transformed into the biggest
terrorist activity in recent years. The purpose of this war has
recently been glamorized by Bush verbally as [a move] for Iraq to
'stand at a historical turning point to pursue democracy and freedom
for the Middle East'; in other words, Iraq will be a model of
democracy for the Middle East.
"It is a pity that, even if democracy can be exported and imported
freely, it cannot be implanted by force. As suggested by its
meaning, democracy means that it is the people who should make the
decisions. It may become another bizarre form of totalitarianism if
a country determines for another country by force the form its
democracy [shall take]. ..."
4. U.S.' Taiwan Policy
"Time for the US to Rethink Its Taiwan Policy"
Professor Chen Hurng-yu of Tamkang University opined in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
"How the US sees the legal status of Taiwan has an important
influence on the state of affairs in East Asia. A common opinion
internationally is that the US uses Taiwan as a flexible
[bargaining?] chip to dominate East Asian affairs. Only by viewing
the status of Taiwan as undetermined can the US use uncertainty in
East Asia to its advantage. This opinion only looks at the
situation from the US position, with the US' particular strategic
consideration in mind. If we look at Washington's position on
Taiwan since the Korean War, the US has always used Taiwan as a
check and balance on China. The US has left the Taiwan issue
hanging and its legal status unsettled. Some aspects of this dual
tactic won the approval of the government in Taipei, which adopted
some measures that were in accordance with US policy. ...
"Now in the post-Cold War era, there's no need for the US to avoid
the Taiwan issue. It should continue to acknowledge that Taiwan is
governed by its own government and belongs to the people of Taiwan.
The more the US avoids the Taiwan issue, or keeps putting off taking
a stand, the more pressure it will face from Beijing. This is not
good for the US or Taiwan. Washington should not keep reiterating
that Taiwan should maintain the status quo. If the US takes the
position that it respects the will of the Taiwanese people and
allows the UN to intervene in a crisis, then this position will win
the support of the majority of countries and people, at keep curbing
Beijing's military might in check. It's been 18 years [sic] since
the US broke off diplomatic relations with the ROC. Now it's time
for the US to reconsider its policy toward Taiwan in response to the
changing climate in East Asia."