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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Un Referendum

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0180 0360336
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 050336Z FEB 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8085
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7815
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9078

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000180

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: TAIWAN'S UN REFERENDUM

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies continued to focus
news coverage February 5 on the March presidential election and the
UN referenda, on the upcoming Lunar New Year holidays, and on the
epilogue for the family members of fugitive tycoon Wang You-theng,
who remain in custody. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an
editorial in the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" discussed the
UN referenda to be held in tandem with the presidential election in
March. The article said the UN referenda have created a predicament
for both the Blue and Green camps. End summary.

[Ed. Note: AIT will close for Chinese New Year until February 12,
2008. This will be the last Media Reaction until then. We wish
everyone a happy and prosperous Year of the Rodent!]

"The Referenda May Not Be Able to Be Bundled with the Presidential
Election, But They Sure Can Tie up Frank Hsieh!"

The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (2/5):

"... In other words, the 'referenda bundled with the presidential
election' in March this year have created a certain kind of
'predicament' for both the Blue and Green camps. The situation is
especially so for the Green camp. On Frank Hsieh's part, because
the 'UN referendum' involves the fundamental beliefs of the DPP,
which is the key point that differentiates the party from the Blue
camp, it left Hsieh no room to dodge or maneuver. The question thus
lies in whether Hsieh wants to treat the UN referendum as the
principal idea of his campaign for the presidency. The dilemma that
Hsieh now faces is that, if he pushes strongly for the UN
referendum, it will surely trigger intense reactions from Washington
and Beijing. The high-ranking U.S. officials' criticism of the UN
referendum was originally aimed at Chen Shui-bian, and it is
certainly not an outcome that Hsieh will be happy to see if
Washington turns and aims the rifle barrel at Hsieh. In the same
light, manipulating the UN referendum will also escalate [tension]
across the Taiwan Strait. Compared with the various campaign
policies Hsieh has proposed in an effort to ease restrictions on
Taiwan's investments on the mainland, that would be akin to Hsieh's
slapping himself in the face.

"The second reason that Hsieh may not be willing to disclose was
that, once he regards the 'UN referendum' as a major idea for his
campaign for the presidency, it will be, without a doubt, paramount
to his declaration that he will follow the line picked by Bian [i.e.
President Chen]. Or even, it will indicate that he has again put
Bian back into the fulcrum of the campaign, and surely he and Bian
will be linked together. ..."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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