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

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0038 0101006
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 101006Z JAN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7764
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7638
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 8906

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000038

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.-TAIWAN RELATIONS

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused January 10

news coverage on the Taiwan police's rescue of a U.S. citizen who
was kidnapped in early January in southern Taiwan; on the Taiwan
High Prosecutors' Office decision Wednesday to appeal the Taiwan
High Court's acquittal of KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou on
embezzlement charges; and on the upcoming legislative elections and
the March presidential poll. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, an op-ed in the pro-independence "Liberty Times,"
written by a Taiwan-born professor who used to serve as a member for
former President Bill Clinton's Advisory Committee on Trade Policy
and Negotiation, discussed Taiwan-U.S. relations and Taiwan's UN
referendum. According to the article, given the complex and subtle
international situation, Taiwan has become the most powerful
bargaining chip that the United States can use against China. "The
harder Taiwan pushes for the 'referenda,' citing internationally
recognized core values of democracy, the stronger the power of the
bargaining chip [i.e., Taiwan] will become," the article said. End
summary.

"Think of Taipei-Washington Relations from a Reverse Direction"

Professor Fu-tong Hsu, who used to serve as a member for former
President Bill Clinton's Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and
Negotiation, opined in the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
[circulation: 700,000] (1/10):

"... Surely the readers will say that given the U.S. government's
strong opposition to Taiwan holding a referendum, it will be
unfavorable ... if Taiwan maintains a foolhardy insistence on doing
so. But this writer believes that the holding of a 'referendum'
will be conducive to positive Taipei-Washington relations. Taiwan's
holding of a 'referendum' is a deed that China avoids like a taboo.
China always dreads that Taiwan will use democracy as a weapon to
launch direct or indirect attacks against it, and Taiwan's
'referenda' are weapons that are more formidable than a thousand
missiles. That is why China will do the best it can to stop Taiwan
from holding a 'referendum.' But what China can do right now is
just to take advantage of the KMT's call [for the public] not to
'pick up the referendum ballots.'

"The U.S. government, clearly aware of developments in 'Taiwan' and
'China,' is taking all kinds of political actions that will benefit
the U.S. government in the short and long term. We are all aware
that given its international strategic posture and its attempt to
thwart the threats raised by China's military expansion, Washington
will by no means abandon the thinking in which Taiwan is viewed as
part of a national defense strategy in the western Pacific. On the
other hand, economic developments between the United States and
China, as well as ... China's increasing influence ... in dealing
with international issues like Iran and Russia, also reminds
Washington of the need to 'cooperate' with China. As a result of
such mutually beneficial relationships among countries, Taiwan has
become the most powerful bargaining chip that the United States can
use against China. The harder Taiwan pushes for the 'referenda,'
citing internationally recognized core values of democracy, the
stronger the power of the bargaining chip [i.e., Taiwan] will
become... While China is taking advantage of Washington's influence
on Taiwan, it will surely have to make concessions to the United
States; the more powerful the 'Taiwan bargaining chip' gets, the
easier it is for Washington to present its demands to Beijing.

"In short, the role that Taiwan is playing at this moment... will
greatly benefit the United States. Taiwan should thus continue
making political moves that will increase its power as a bargaining
chip."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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