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

VZCZCXYZ0010
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #2509 3240937
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200937Z NOV 07
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7421
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7452
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8740

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 002509

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

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage November 20 on Vice President Annette Lu, who pleaded
innocent during the first hearing of a corruption trial Monday
concerning the allegation that she misused her special allowance
funds; on Taiwan's UN referendum; and on the legislative and
presidential elections in 2008. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, an editorial in the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
discussed the annual report published by the U.S.-China Economic and
Security Review Commission recently. The editorial called on the
United States to be vigilant of China's military threats against
Taiwan. End summary.

"Be Vigilant of the Threat against Taiwan Posed by China's Military
Rise"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (11/20):

"... It is by no means sensational to say that the military balance
across the Taiwan Strait has gradually tipped in favor of China over
the past few years. ... Having steadily completed the revamping of
its new types of warships, the Chinese military is now capable of
engaging in combat operations in the areas near the first island
chain, a development that has constituted enormous threats to
Taiwan's security.

"In fact, the change in the military situation across the Taiwan
Strait can be attributed to two main factors. One factor is that
the war on terrorism is now a top priority for the United States,
and sustained peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region frees
the United States of any worries in other theaters, so that it can
focus all its resources on anti-terrorism. Given this new
development, Washington needs Beijing's cooperation in order to
stabilize the situation in Northeastern Asia. China, in the wake of
its rise, also needs the United States' cooperation so as to remove
any doubts by the international community about its increasing
military buildup. The hostility between the two countries is not as
strong as it was before. In addition, the nativist campaign in
Taiwan is in high gear now; activities concerning the island's name
change, the writing of a new constitution, and Taiwan's UN bid are
unfolding like a raging fire. These moves seem to have become an
irritant to Washington-Beijing ties and thus brought about disputes
between Washington and Taipei. The Bush administration, as a
result, decided to put on hold part of its arms sales to Taiwan,
such as the F16C/D fighter jets that Taiwan urgently needs. The
U.S. government has been sending out signals indicating that it will
not consider the deal before the island's presidential election next
year.

"To be honest, we should not blame the Bush administration for
stalling the arms sales to Taiwan. The major arms procurement
package that is essential for Taiwan's military modernization, which
was long approved by the Bush administration in 2001, had been
constantly blocked and stalled [in the Legislative Yuan] because of
intense political infighting and strife over unification or
independence in Taiwan. ... The U.S.-China Economic and Security
Review Commission is an organization established under the U.S.
Congress by law. Its recent assessment and recommendations in terms
of the cross-Strait situation require close attention by the U.S.
government. China's attempts at bellicosity and its Anti-Secession
Law have all indicated that its threat against Taiwan is neither a
gesture nor a bluff; instead, China is in the process of attaining
sufficient capabilities to invade Taiwan. ..."

YOUNG

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