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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. Economic Slowdown

VZCZCXYZ0022
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0130 0280807
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 280807Z JAN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7999
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7781
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9042

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000130

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. ECONOMIC SLOWDOWN


Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies continued to focus

news coverage January 26-28 on the upcoming presidential election
and Taiwan's UN referendum; on the Cabinet's en masse resignation
and possible cabinet reshuffle; and on the controversy over China's
new air route west of the central line of the Taiwan Strait. Both
the pro-unification "United Daily News" and the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" carried the results of their latest
opinion surveys on January 27, which indicated that supporters of
the pan-Green have returned to the fold, and the gap between the
KMT's Ma-Siew ticket and the DPP's Hsieh-Su ticket has narrowed. In
terms of editorials and commentaries, an op-ed in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" discussed the U.S. economic slowdown
and asked if the era featuring U.S. hegemony has come to an end. An
editorial in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
also chimed in, urging both the private and public sectors to
"consider some countermeasures in the event of a looming US
recession or global downturn." End summary.

A) "Has Our American Dream Come to an End?"

Sisy Chen, a TV talk show hostess and commentator, wrote in her
weekly column in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation:
520,000] (1/26):

"... It's not until the [explosion of] the sub-prime mortgage crisis
this time that we were forced to stop at a certain point in time to
ponder on a serious issue: Namely, has our American dream already
come to an end? ... The era of uncertainty for mankind has arrived
again. For the past century, we have constantly been dominated by
concepts coined by and standing for the United States. Yet when
human society is likely moving toward a new destination, where the
old hegemony is declining rapidly but a new hegemony is yet to take
shape, human beings are not necessarily prepared for a generation
without U.S. hegemony. It is an obvious trend that the world will
develop into a center shared by multiple powers, and the balance
originally sustained by the five major centers -- the United States,
China, Russia, Europe and Japan -- is vanishing. No single
individual is able to control or generate the speed for these powers
that navigate through the perpetual flow of time. The U.S. economic
slide in 2008 and the transformation of the Chinese market starting
from the second half of 2007 are evident proofs showing that no one
can control or anticipate such changes.

"It may not be a good development without U.S. hegemony; the
collapse of [economic] confidence will remain in the [global] market
for at least a long period of time. But the absence of U.S.
hegemony may not necessarily be a bad thing either; at least in a
short period of time there will not be a hegemony that will
willfully create any excuse to start a war like the one in Iraq.
The era in which the United States monopolizes power has come to an
end after all, and a new era that we are yet unable to imagine is
now taking shape. ..."

B) "Can Taiwan Weather the US Storm?"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (1/28):

"... No one knows exactly how a slowing US economy would affect
consumer spending there and to what extent a slowdown would drag
down the world economy. But a global downturn is inevitable and no
one is immune, not even China or India. The situation can also
become worse if the US government's US$150 billion economic stimulus
package fails to kickstart the sagging US economy or the US Federal
Reserve's emergency interest rate cuts last week fail to revive its
economy. The US problem, as suggested by billionaire George Soros in
an article published last week, is actually associated with a
systemic problem -- an exploding credit expansion without regulatory
checks.

"The downside risk is greater and may have come earlier than
expected. Taiwan's export sector will face more challenges this year
as the economies in Europe have already started cooling down.
Several computer and electronics makers will begin this week to
report their fourth-quarter earnings and their prospects for the
coming months. The government is also scheduled today to release its
monthly index of leading economic indicators, a key measure of the
economy's direction over the next three to six months. Both private
and public sectors should consider some countermeasures in the event
of the looming US recession or global downturn."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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