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

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2311/01 2840918
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 110918Z OCT 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7105
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7343
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8625

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002311

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD - NIDA EMMONS
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS

1. Summary: As Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies gave
significant coverage October 10-11 to the National Day celebrations
all over the island, news coverage also focused on Taiwan's UN
referendum and the severe damage caused by Typhoon Krosa, which
pounded Taiwan over the weekend. The pro-independence "Liberty
Times" ran a banner headline on page two October 11 that read "In
His National Day Address, Bian Substitutes Taiwan for the Republic
of China."

2. Among the editorials and commentaries, a column in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" discussed the "Iran card" that
Beijing is playing now and said Washington-Beijing ties were
entering a new high point A separate "Apple Daily" op-ed said, for
now, Beijing would keep a vigilant eye on both the KMT and the DPP
presidential candidates while putting its focus on opposing
President Chen Shui-bian. End summary.

A) "China's Iran Card"

Columnist Antonio Chiang wrote in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily"
[circulation: 530,000] (10/11):

"Taiwan's purchase of F-16C/D fighter jets from the United States
has long since been decided, but it has yet to be executed. The
apparent reason [for the delay] has to do with [Taiwan's] UN
referendum and with the fact that the White House does not want
foster Chen Shui-bian's reckless behavior by selling the planes.
However, the real reason is that Washington has learned Beijing will
likely sell its most advanced J10 fighter jets to Iran as a
countermeasure [against the F16C/D fighter deal], which will deal a
blow to [President George W.] Bush's policy toward the Middle East.

"Bush is a lame duck in terms of domestic affairs, and he is also
caught in a quagmire in terms of foreign relations. But now he
suddenly realized that China is his new walking stick in foreign
relations. Even though the policies and values between China and
the United States are far apart, the timely assistance and sincerity
that Beijing has demonstrated to Bush in areas where the interests
of both sides overlap have touched Bush. This cowboy president is
easily ouched, and the new offensive strategy China has adopted
toward the United States has pushed Washington-Beijing ties into an
unprecedented high point. One of the concrete examples is that the
United States has allowed China to have a share in the
reconstruction projects and arms deals in Iraq, a privilege that is
often granted to U.S. allies only....

"The weapons orders that the United States has in Iraq total USD30
billion (approximately NTD978 billion). Offering benefits worth
USD100 million to China means China has formally entered this new
developing market and will have opportunities to get more.... For
the United States, Iran is a country which plays a critical role in
its dealings with Iraq. Given China's increasing influence in Iraq,
the White House has started to hope that China will be able to help
the United States in this respect. Following its efforts that got
off to a good start with its 'North Korea card,' China begins to
play the 'Iran card' now; with Chinese-made weaponry entering the
market of Iraq, Taiwan's F-16C/D fighter deal can only be put
aside."

B) "Beijing Keeps a Vigilant Eye on Ma [Ying-jeou] and [Frank]
Hsieh, but Puts Its Focus on Opposing Bian"

Professor Barry Chen from Chinese Culture University's Graduate
School of American Studies, opined in the mass-circulation "Apple
Daily" [circulation: 530,000] (10/10):

"Beijing has fought a very important battle prior to the convening
of the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) 17th National Congress, which
is slated for October 15; namely, it has tried to contain Chen
Shui-bian's push for the 'UN referendum.' Given that the DPP has
revised its radical 'normal country resolution'; that the Taiwan
people's sentiment [for the referendum] has declined, and that the
Bush administration has clearly and strongly expressed its position
[toward the referendum], Beijing believes that it has achieved
certain results that it desired. Even though the referendum drama
remains in progress and Beijing is still monitoring its development,
the severe situation has, for the time being, been, alleviated. It
is thus believed that Beijing is unlikely to use serious and strong
wording in its political statement made during the CCP's 17th
National Congress....

"In the coming period of less than six months [of Chen's term],
Beijing will put its focus on [Taiwan's] referendum, legislative
elections, and the presidential election, which are closely related
to the new developments and the role Chen will play in the DPP. On
the whole, Beijing's Taiwan policy will be characterized by 'keeping
a vigilant eye on Ma Ying-jeou and Frank Hsieh while putting its
focus on opposing Bian.'"

WANG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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