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

VZCZCXYZ0006
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0098/01 0181010
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181010Z JAN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7953
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7760
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9020

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000098

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


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage January 18 on DPP presidential candidate Frank Hsieh's
intensive campaigning in the wake of his party's severe defeat in
last Saturday's legislative elections; on the March presidential
poll; on President Chen Shui-bian returning from his visit to Latin
America; and on the prosecutors' decision Thursday to indict eight
current and former lawmakers on charges of bribery. The
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" published the results of a latest
opinion survey, which showed that 40 percent of those polled said
they will vote for KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou, while 16
percent said they will support Frank Hsieh. The paper ran a banner
headline on page eight that said "Forty-three Percent of Voters Say
They Have Yet to Decide Who Should Be President."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" discussed U.S. Pacific
Commander-in-Chief Admiral Timothy Keating's recent comment on the
Taiwan Strait as being the international waters. The article said
only if Taiwan retains its independent sovereignty can the Taiwan
Strait remain international waters. It therefore urged Washington
to stop beating down on Taiwan's "democratic and peaceful" UN
referendum. End summary.

"Only If Taiwan Retains Its Independent Sovereignty Can the Taiwan
Strait Remain International Waters"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 700,000]
editorialized (1/18):

"... Over the past few years, China has been working proactively on
its military build-up in an attempt to take possession of the Taiwan
Strait just for its own use. The fact that Chinese submarines have
appeared in the Taiwan Strait many times and [sometimes] trespassed
into the territorial waters of Taiwan and Japan is a clear
manifestation of such evil ambitions. Beijing announced
unilaterally at the end of 2007 its plan to draw a new air route
west of the central line of the Taiwan Strait. The move also
indicated China's scheme to use commercial needs as a cover-up for
its intent to take over the Taiwan Strait. Judging from U.S.
Admiral Timothy Keating's recent statement [in Beijing], [it is
evident that] relevant countries, including the United States, will
never [simply] sit back and watch China's attempt to take over the
Taiwan Strait as its territorial waters.

"As a matter of fact, it is closely related to Taiwan whether the
Taiwan Strait can retain its status of international waters. It is
a widely known fact that China has been publicizing recklessly in
the international community that Taiwan is part of China, implying
that it has the right to unify (or annex) Taiwan. In this vein,
China naturally sees the Taiwan Strait as its own territorial
waters. As a result, the key to assure that the Taiwan Strait
remains international waters lies in maintaining Taiwan's status as
an independent sovereign [state]. Once Taiwan is annexed by China,
relevant countries like the United States and Japan will have to
seek approval from Beijing if their ships or airplanes want to fly
or sail through the Taiwan Strait.

"Yet at the moment when Keating was emphasizing that the Taiwan
Strait is international waters, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John
Negroponte, who is currently visiting Beijing, reiterated that the
United States believes Taiwan's UN referendum is provocative and
that it is a mistake to conduct such a referendum. Why does Taiwan
need to hold a referendum on its UN membership? The answer is
because China attempts to annex Taiwan and change Taiwan's status
quo as an independent sovereign [state]! U.S. State Department
officials did not criticize China's deployment of 1,328 missiles
targeting Taiwan as provocative, nor did it slam the 'Anti-Secession
Law' as provocative. Instead, it labeled Taiwan's democratic,
peaceful UN referendum as provocative. This is evidently a double
standard, clear and simple.

"U.S. State Department officials criticized Taiwan's move to
maintain its status as an independent sovereign [state] as
provocative, while U.S. Pacific commander-in-chief reiterated in
China that the Taiwan Strait is international waters. Apparently
the [U.S.] cross-Strait policy is inconsistent with its strategy for
the Western Pacific. If one acts in accordance with the State
Department policies and echoes wholeheartedly China's policy to
annex Taiwan, sooner or later, Taiwan will become China's exclusive
domain, and the Taiwan Strait will end up becoming China's
territorial waters. Should it be the case, how will the U.S.
military be able to declare that the Taiwan Strait is international
waters? How is the United States going to ensure its interests and
those of other countries in the western Pacific?

"Over the years, as required by the 'Taiwan Relations Act,' the
United States has been providing Taiwan with defensive weapons, and
its objective is simply to defend Taiwan against China's force and
annexation. Oddly, Washington is selling defensive weapons to

Taiwan on the one hand, in the fear that China will use force to
annex Taiwan, but on the other hand it does not want to recognize
Taiwan as an independent sovereign state, and it even tries to
suppress in every respect Taiwan's attempts to maintain its
independent sovereignty. What Washington has been doing is akin to
slapping itself in the face. The [U.S.] actions also provided an
instance for China to protest loudly against the U.S. arms sales to
Taiwan. It may as well be asked: How long can such an inconsistent
policy be sustained?

"... Judged from such a perspective, Taiwan and the Taiwan Strait
are closely related and inseparable. Only if Taiwan can retain its
independent sovereignty can the Taiwan Strait remains international
waters. When Taiwan loses its independent sovereignty, the Taiwan
Strait will by no means remain international waters. It is about
time that the United States stops its attempts to beat down on
Taiwan's UN referendum."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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