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

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0172/01 0351039
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041039Z FEB 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8074
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7809
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9072

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000172

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 February 2-4 on the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays, on
the March presidential poll and the UN referenda, on President Chen
Shui-bian's landmark visit to Taiping Island in the disputed Spratly
Islands Saturday, on the annual national college entrance
examination Friday and Saturday, and on Microsoft Corp's offer to
buy Yahoo last Friday. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an
editorial in the pro-independence "Liberty Times" discussed AIT
Taipei Director Stephen Young's recent call on KMT Chairman Wu
Poh-hsiung. The article said the United States should facilitate,
not oppose, Taiwan's UN referenda. An editorial in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" discussed the U.S. sub-prime mortgage
crisis and its impact on Asia's and Taiwan's economies. An
editorial in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
discussed the possible U.S. recession and the heavy blizzards China
is suffering now and said the Taiwan government "has every reason to
keep a close watch" on future developments. End summary.

A) "The United States Ought to Facilitate Rather Than Boycott the
Referenda [for Taiwan] to Join or Re-join the UN"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (2/2):

"AIT Taipei Director Stephen Young has reportedly called on KMT
Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung recently and again expressed Washington's
concerns over the referenda to join and re-join the UN, hoping that
it will not turn into a race between the Blue and Green camps. Wu,
on the other hand, said the KMT's preexisting attitude [over its
referendum] was to maintain the island's national dignity and
complete sovereignty, and that he hopes the Legislative Yuan will
come up with a resolution which will be acceptable both to the
ruling and opposition parties. In fact, behind the words and deeds
of both Young and Wu, lies their real concern - China.

The referenda regarding recovering the [KMT's ill-gotten] party
assets [proposed by the DPP] and against corruption [proposed by the
KMT], respectively, held in tandem with the legislative elections on
January 12, both failed to pass because they did not receive
participation by the required fifty percent of all eligible voters
[to pass the threshold for referendum validity]. Anyone with
insight is worried about whether the referenda [for Taiwan] to join
or re-join the UN will have a chance to pass in the future. Given
such circumstances, the U.S. side remained persistent in opposing
the UN referenda, and it is a great pity to see how Washington
ignores the Taiwan people's aspirations [for Taiwan to] become a
normal country.

"Didn't it ever occur to the U.S. government that if the UN
referenda were to be withdrawn or fail to pass just because of the
ultimate factor of China, the result will be twisted by China and
interpreted as following -- the Taiwan people are not interested in
joining the UN; they don't believe that Taiwan is a country; [and]
Taiwan is [indeed] part of the People's Republic of China? Such an
interpretation will result in the hollowing out of the foundation
for the 'Taiwan Relations Act' and will instead serve as a [useful]
cue for the 'Anti-Secession Law.' Should this happen, it will be
too late for the United States to express concerns about peace and
stability in the Western Pacific area.

"Perhaps the U.S. government believes that it is the United States'
national interests to avoid touching the sensitive nerve of
U.S.-China relations. But in the long run, if China is allowed to
act at its own discretion and use the rope of the 'one China
principle' to tie up Taiwan in the international community, how is
the United States going to 'provide Taiwan with arms of a defensive
character' once Taiwan degenerates into becoming part of China or
its domain of power? How will Washington be able to prevent China
from 'using non-peaceful means to determine Taiwan's future?'
Should this happen, will it be consistent with the United States'
national interests? ..."

B) "Taiwan Can Hardly Keep out of the U.S. Sub-prime Mortgage
Crisis"

The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (2/4):

"... With the U.S. economics sliding into recession, will the
emerging markets in Asia be able to dodge a disastrous outcome? An
International Monetary Fund report said that emerging markets are
maintaining their high growth rates and will become the engine for
global economic development. But shrouded by the effects of
globalization, not a single country in the world can be exempted
from the influence of (economic recession). Taiwan, in particular,
whose economics is closely related to the U.S. market and whose
economic growth relies solely on exports, will face severe
challenges. ..."

C) "Economic Blizzard Is a Harsh Reality

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (2/4):

"The unusually harsh winter weather in parts of China has put a
great deal of economic activity on hold over the past three weeks,
but the worst may be yet to come... In the context of a global
economy stained by the US subprime fallout and whispers of a US
recession, it is unclear how markets would stand a slowdown in the
Chinese economy. And if the situation continues to deteriorate in
the US, it is not clear how Chinese policymakers will react should
that cut into exports. The situation is delicate and the effects of
China's poor infrastructure in combination with a cruel winter could
multiply. With its many business [sic] across the Taiwan Strait,
Taiwan's government has every reason to keep a close watch."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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