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

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0023/01 0080901
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 080901Z JAN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7740
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7628
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8899

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000023

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 January 8 on Taiwan's stock price index, which nose-dived
4.1 percent Monday; and on the upcoming legislative elections and
the March presidential poll. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, an editorial in the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
called on the United States to overhaul its cross-Strait policy as
Washington's China policy was "merely cultivating a communist
hegemonic power that will speak and act contrarily to itself in the
end." An op-ed in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
Times" spelled out three major reasons why China is fighting Taiwan.
The article concluded by saying that "China's threats to Taiwan are
thus not caused by Taiwan's efforts to seek its rightful place under
the sun, but rather by geostrategic competition with the U.S." End
summary.

A) "The United States Must Change and Make a New Start of Its
Cross-Strait Policy"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 700,000]
editorialized (1/8):

"... As a matter of fact, China's rise may not necessarily be of
advantage to the United States. In terms of economics, the United
States' trade deficit with China is $300 billion a year. The
international page of the "Newsweek" has recently pointed out that
in 2007, China's influence on global economic developments has for
the first time surpassed that of the United States -- an
unprecedented case since the 1930s. On the diplomatic front, no
longer did people see the low-profile manner adopted by Deng
Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin. Hu Jintao has been tilting toward Russia
over the past year and did not hesitate to disagree with the United
States in terms of issues like Iraq. He has also adopted a tougher
stance toward Taiwan in the international community. ... As for the
military aspect, given that China shot down a space satellite a year
ago and rejected a port call in Hong Kong by the USS Kitty Hawk
aircraft carrier and two minesweepers more than a month ago, the
rising military hegemony of China will create disastrous
consequences for the United States after all.

"Since one has yet to see the benefits derived from [Washington's]
China policy, what the United States has been doing was just
cultivating a communist hegemonic power that will speak and act
contrarily against itself in the end. Except for [former] President
Ronald Reagan and certain congressional leaders, U.S. political
leaders continue to persist in their errors even up to now. What's
even more serious was that, when it comes to Taiwan's popular vote
on its UN membership, the United States, which advocates democracy
all over the world, had its Secretary of State come forth to oppose
such a direct expression of public opinion. Behind the reason
[cited by the United States] that [holding the UN referendum] will
'alter the status quo,' it was either [Washington's] submission to
China's pressure or its double standard of bullying the virtuous and
fearing the wicked. But in reality, neither reason is consistent
with the United States' basic values and interests. We want to
emphasize here that only when Washington changes and makes a fresh
start of its troublesome and self-contradictory cross-Strait policy,
can the United States win the Taiwan people's respect for it again,
and the move will bring along a major influence to the Taiwan
Strait, the Pacific area and even to world peace."

B) "What's Really Bothering Beijing?"

Gerrit van der Wees, editor at the Washington-based "Taiwan
Communique," opined in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (1/8):

"... What is China fighting against? What is driving China's leaders
in their obsession with Taiwan? When we go back in history, we see
three main reasons. ... The real reason China is fighting Taiwan is
because it represents a successful democracy right next door,
undermining the CCP's authoritarian 'stability.' The second reason
that seems to be prevalent in Chinese thinking is to 'right the
wrongs' caused by two centuries of 'humiliation' at the hands of
Western countries. ... The third reason for China's hardheaded
attitude toward Taiwan is that it thinks Taiwan's close association
with the US and the West stands in the way of China becoming a
'great power.'

"The leaders in Beijing have set an ambitious course for China to
become a 'superpower' along the lines of the US: wielding economic
and political influence and power across the globe. For China's
leaders, 'possession' of Taiwan is a key element in their
geostrategic competition with the US -- and to a lesser extent in
their regional competition with Japan. This is because of Taiwan's
strategic location -- straddling the important sea lanes between
Japan and Southeast Asia while keeping China from unfettered access
to the deep oceans of the Pacific. China's threats to Taiwan are
thus not caused by Taiwan's efforts to seek its rightful place under
the sun, but rather by geostrategic competition with the US. This

argument is made eloquently in a recent book titled 'Why Taiwan?' by
Alan Wachman of Tufts University. ..."

YOUNG

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