Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations
DE RUEHIN #0124 0250944
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250944Z JAN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7991
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7778
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9039
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000124
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 January 25 on the fraud of the French bank Societe
Generale; on the secret meeting between President Chen Shui-bian and
KMT Chairman Wu Po-hsiung; and disputes over the UN referenda
proposed by both the KMT and the DPP. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, an editorial in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taipei Times" said that China only needs patience, not missiles, to
acquire Taiwan, because the United States and the international
community have been humoring China. The editorial also criticized
both presidential candidates, Ma Ying-jeou of the KMT and Frank
Hsieh of the DPP, for failing to see the threats posed by China.
"China Doesn't Need Missiles"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (1/25):
"Late last month, Malawi yielded to the old carrot-and-stick routine
and abandoned 42 years of diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favor
of ties with China. Within days, the Malawian minister responsible
for brokering the deal has reportedly fled the country with millions
of yuan meant as a 'sweetener' for his president. ...
"And yet, China is still not satisfied and never misses an
opportunity to belittle Taiwan on the world stage. The most recent
example of this occurred during the Women's World Cup of Golf this
week at Sun City, South Africa, where Taiwan's Wei Yun-jye and Amy
Hung finished third. China's team, which finished 13th, convinced
the hosts that our national flag should not be displayed.
"Together with the 'autonomous regions' of Xinjiang and Tibet,
Taiwan is claimed by China, which insists that no other country
should meddle in its 'domestic affairs.'
"In this light, it is odd that China has asked the US to condemn
Taiwan's referendums on UN membership. It is even stranger that
Washington has happily obliged, with everyone from American
Institute in Taiwan Director Stephen Young to US Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice saying the plebiscites are unnecessary, provocative
and of no real benefit.
"Despite Taiwan's dutiful attempts to play a responsible role in the
world, it seems most countries are happy to humor China by not
publicly contradicting its claim to Taiwan. It is sad that so many
nations lack the courage to do the right thing. ...
"In view of this imminent threat, it is remarkable that Democratic
Progressive Party presidential candidate Frank Hsieh and his Chinese
Nationalist Party (KMT) counterpart Ma Ying-jeou are competing to
see who can best implement cross-strait flights.
"Yes, increased trade with China may boost the economy. But that
does not mean that the threat posed by China should be laughed off.
And yet that is the message being sent by the country's presidential
candidates, notwithstanding Ma's recent lecture on boosting the
"Hsieh may be trying to neutralize Ma's 'it's the economy, stupid'
argument, but that makes his actions only marginally more
"If this is the mindset of the men who are competing to lead this
country, then China doesn't need missiles to annex Taiwan: All it
needs is patience."