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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Dpp Presidential Candidate Frank Hsieh's

VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1659/01 2050905
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240905Z JUL 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6121
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7051
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8296

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001659

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

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: DPP PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE FRANK HSIEH'S
U.S. TRIP, TAIWAN'S UN BID AND CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage July 24 on DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's trip to
the United States, on KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou's
special mayoral fund case, on Taiwan's planned Double Ten Day parade
in October, and on a local associate professor, who was killed
Monday by a former prison inmate recently released under a
nationwide amnesty. The pro-independence "Liberty Times" ran a
banner headline on page four that said "Hsieh Talks about [Taiwan's]
UN Bid: the United States Will Not Oppose Taiwan's Democratic
Approaches." The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times," in the
meantime, carried a news story on page four with the headline "Hsieh
Arrives in Washington D.C.; the United States Has Reportedly
Upgraded the Level [of Its Officials] Meeting [with Hsieh]."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" criticized DPP presidential
candidate Frank Hsieh's U.S. trip. The article said Hsieh's trip is
not to "publicize his own political assertions, but to clarify to
the United States Chen Shui-bian's widely-doubted policy, or even to
clean up the mess Chen has created." A "China Times" analysis
discussed Beijing's view on Taiwan's referendum on its UN bid. The
article said the referenda proposed by the DPP and the KMT on
joining the United Nations under the name of Taiwan have touched on
China's bottom line and forced Beijing to start to defend its
regime. An editorial in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taiwan News" said that Taiwan's application to join the United
Nations as a full member will be "a milestone in Taiwan's movement
for democratization and decolonialization even if it fails to bear
fruit in the near term." End summary.

3. DPP Presidential Candidate Frank Hsieh's U.S. Trip

"Frank Hsieh's Visit to the United States: Throwing a Grenade or
Dodging One?"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (7/24):

"Frank Hsieh's journey to communicate with the United States is
almost akin to a 'mission impossible' because it has in its nature
seriously violated political logic and common practices. The major
purpose of Hsieh's U.S. trip in the capacity of a presidential
candidate is, surprisingly, not to publicize his own political
assertions, but to clarify to the United States Chen Shui-bian's
widely-doubted policy, or even to clean up the mess Chen has
created. Hsieh's hands are tied by at least two issues related to
Chen: First, he must support 'the referendum on Taiwan's bid to
join the UN under the name Taiwan;' and second, he must deny (or at
least not pledge to) the 'Four Nos and One Without.' ...

"The matter is that the United States has repeatedly said it opposes
to 'the referendum on the island's UN bid under the name Taiwan,'
and that it has constantly maintained that the Taiwan authorities
must adhere to the "Four Nos and One Without' pledge. Should Hsieh
is able to exercise his free will, and given his quick wits and
resourceful tactics, surely he will by no means choose to stand on
the opposite side of the United States in terms of these two issues,
and surely he will hope that Washington will treat him separately
from Chen. But since Chen has already put Hsieh on a short leash,
and the various scandals that Hsieh was allegedly involved in have
made him vulnerable and thus heavily reliant on Chen [to fix the
scandals], Hsieh will certainly have to make a choice between
'echoing the U.S. [position]/drawing a line between himself and
Chen' and 'echoing Chen's [position]/acting perfunctorily to explain
to the United States.' He must choose one of the two options, and
there is no way he can please both sides.

"Hsieh must prudently address the doubts of the United States.
Since U.S. policy is not formed overnight, the chances are slim for
him to parry the U.S. questioning in a crafty and perfunctory
manner. Also, during the communication process, Hsieh must watch
and act carefully so as not to lead Washington to a negative
evaluation of his personality and credibility, or he will lose both
externally and internally [i.e. his face and the benefit of U.S.
trust]. ... But as of now, it seems that Hsieh is still arguing
with the United States using the kind of political rhetoric suitable
for domestic consumption. He said he must first figure out what it
is that the United States is opposed to with regard to Taiwan's
'referendum on its UN bid under the name Taiwan.' ... Hsieh is in
reality borrowing the tricks used by Chen, namely, to break down the
major proposition into smaller parts in an attempt to create
confusion. Such a move may work as a political smoke screen in
Taiwan, but if Hsieh is trying to apply such third-class sophistry
to deal with the United States shamelessly, Washington will surely
feel insulted, [being treated] like a political idiot. ...

"Hsieh's journey of 'love and trust' this time is unexpectedly
tangled deeply with Chen's issues of 'referendum on Taiwan's UN bid'

and the 'Four Nos and One Without' pledge. These are definitely not
assets for Hsieh's campaign. As a result, what one sees now in
terms of news reports on Hsieh's U.S. trip is the weird contrast of
Hsieh 'lashing out at Ma Ying-jeou in the United States but facing
an impasse in his communication with Washington.' ... If Hsieh wants
to throw grenades at Ma, why did he have to fly all the way to the
United States? But even though he is now far away in the United
States, it seems obvious that Hsieh has failed to dodge the grenades
thrown at him from Chen!"

4. Taiwan's UN Bid and Cross-Strait Relations

A) "Showdown on the Referendum on Joining the United Nations -- a
Battle for Beijing to Defend Its Regime"

Journalist Wang Ming-yi said in an analysis in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (7/24):

"In terms of the [Taiwan] presidential election, there seems to have
four pairs of candidates now! In addition to Frank Hsieh and Ma
Ying-jeou who are nominated by political parties, President Chen,
whose term of office will end next year but who still expresses
radical policy remarks, acts as if he will run in the election. In
particular, the Bian-dominated referendum on joining the United
Nations has touched on the sensitive nerve across the Taiwan Strait,
and has successfully drawn [Chinese President] Hu Jintao into
Taiwan's presidential election. The issues of national identity,
ethnic differentiation, and debates on unification [with China] or
independence [of Taiwan] reflected by the "China factor" during the
campaign process remain to be critical for winning the presidential
election. ...

"In fact, even though the cooperative mechanism established by the
KMT-Chinese Communist Party Forum has eased the stalemate across the
Taiwan Strait, the political contradiction between the KMT and the
CCP, same as the cross-Strait antagonism on the sovereignty issue,
are hard to solve. In order to deal with the DPP's tactics, the KMT
pushed for another referendum on joining the United Nations.
Although this is just a tactical manipulation, which is also a way
to dilute the effect of the DPP-proposed referendum on votes (i.e.
to use a bogus issue to counter another bogus issue), and since
Taiwan still cannot join the United Nations even following the legal
procedure to pass a referendum, Beijing still strongly believes that
the move is sending a wrong signal of 'touching the bottom line.'
...

"The manipulation of the referendum on joining the United Nations is
one of the winning tactics for the DPP to remain in power; for the
KMT, it is the last fight to become again the ruling party. But for
Beijing, the execution of counter-measures against the referenda is
to avoid moving to the stage of a showdown, and it is akin to
another 'war in defense of the regime'... "

B) "Taiwan's UN Bid Marks Maturity"

The pro-independence, English language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (7/24):

"The application submitted to United Nations Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon by President Chen Shui-bian for Taiwan's full membership in
the U.N. last Thursday will be a milestone in Taiwan's movement for
democratization and decolonialization even if it fails to bear fruit
in the near term. It is undeniable that the People's Republic of
China, which is intensely opposed to bids by Taiwan to enter any
sovereignty-based international organizations, holds a permanent
U.N. Security Council seat and can directly veto Taiwan's
application as well as rely on a host of allies in the General
Assembly to block debate on our application.

"However, excessive preoccupation with the short-term prospects for
success would overlook the reasons why this initiative is absolutely
necessary and why the application for full U.N. membership under the
name of 'Taiwan,' regardless of the fact that the anachronistic
'Republic of China' remains our constitutional moniker, has crucial
long-term political significance and educational value. ...
Taiwan's people only gained a 'voice' through the hard-bought
success of the Taiwan democracy movement with the May 1996
assumption of a government fully elected by the Taiwan people, and
consolidated their voice with the transfer of power in May 2000 to a
government led by Taiwan's home-grown center-left Democratic
Progressive Party. ... Instead, a referendum will offer all Taiwan
citizens an opportunity to directly participate in their own
self-determination and show the U.N. precisely how many Taiwan
citizens are knocking on its door."

YOUNG

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