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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Un Referendum

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0116 0240912
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 240912Z JAN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7977
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7771
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9031

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000116

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: TAIWAN'S UN REFERENDUM


Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage January 24 on the Taiwan Cabinet, which is set to resign en
masse today, four days ahead of schedule; on the March presidential
poll and the UN referendum; and on the U.S. Federal Reserve's
interest-rate cut Tuesday and its impact on the global stock
markets. The pro-independence "Liberty Times" ran a news story on
page six with the headline "[Taiwan's] Deputy Defense Minister Ko
Cheng-heng: Taiwan Should Develop Cruise Missiles." In terms of
editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the mass-circulation
"Apple Daily" slammed President Chen Shui-bian for the DPP's
proposed UN referendum by spelling out some serious consequences for
Taiwan should the referendum fail to pass in March. End summary.

"A-Bian's Excretion"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000]
editorialized (1/24):

"The UN referendum initiated and manipulated by A-Bian was initially
meant to be bundled with the presidential election and not really
aimed for Taiwan to enter the United Nations. It had drawn the KMT
into playing the game by proposing a referendum for Taiwan to
re-join the UN. Now there are two referenda, and both are doomed to
failure. Frank Hsieh, who is unable to back down now, becomes an
innocent victim [of the UN referendum]. But the consequences are
more serious for Taiwan.

There are several consequences [for Taiwan] should the UN referendum
fail to pass: First, China will be able to speak loudly and
convincingly in the international community for its moves to
suppress Taiwan, because it is the Taiwan people who do not want to
join the UN. China can even extend and interpret the development,
claiming that, since the Taiwan people themselves believe that
Taiwan is part of China, [Taiwan] does not need to join the UN.
Such a theory can be backed up by figures [i.e. ballots cast in the
referenda] and is thus very convincing. Second, the international
powers that used to be sympathetic to Taiwan, such as the U.S.
Congress, Japan's Diet and the European Parliament, will find it
difficult to speak out for Taiwan any more, because the Taiwan
people themselves have decided against the island's UN bid. Third,
what is most embarrassing will be the [reaction of the] island's
allies that have been proposing and supporting Taiwan's UN bid over
the past decades. ... Fourth, Taiwan-centered awareness and
Taiwan's determination to decide for itself will be severely
traumatized, and the development will deal a heavy blow to Taiwan's
confidence in its democracy.

"Who is the originator of this detestable proposal? The answer is
Chen Shui-bian. Just for the sake of campaigning and for his own
legacy in history, he has treated the sacred practice of referenda
as a gambling stake and a tool, putting his country into such an
embarrassing predicament. Chen's move has also made Taiwan citizens
feel uneasy about their right to referenda and done severe damage to
his party's presidential candidate. What kind of a president would
do such a stupid thing that will incur such serious consequences?
..."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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