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


DE RUEHIN #0193/01 0431010
R 121010Z FEB 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused February
6-12 news coverage on the island's weather and traffic conditions
during the six-day Lunar New Year holidays, on the March
presidential poll and on the UN referenda. In terms of editorials
and commentaries, an editorial in the pro-independence "Taiwan News"
urged Washington policymakers to push authoritarian China to respect
fundamental values of human rights and democracy and not to suppress
Taiwan's UN referenda. An editorial in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" also criticized China's "amoral"
foreign business policy and said "China's trade policy and lack of
transparency in the arms trade will feed wars in countries all over
the world, especially in resource-rich regions in Southeast Asia and
Africa." End summary.

A) "U.S. Should Back Democratic Values"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (2/12):

"As the world's leading democratic power, the United States of
America should support global efforts to push the authoritarian
People's Republic of China to respect fundamental values of human
rights and democracy in the world community for both moral and
practical reasons. ... In this regard, the meek request made
February 7 by U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte urging
Beijing that it 'should not try to deprive Taiwan of all of its
political space' is grossly weak-kneed compared to his repeated
blistering criticisms of the U.N. referendum, which was put on the
March 22 ballot not by Chen's fiat but by signatures by 2.72 million
citizens or nearly 16 percent of eligible voters in Taiwan.

"The degeneration of the U.S. from defending human rights into a
helpmate for Beijing's anti-democratic inquisition is directly
related to Washington's decision to reply to the September 11, 2001
terrorist attacks by launching an illegal war in Iraq and an
ill-conceived 'war on terror' through flagrant violations of human
rights including torture instead of addressing the roots of the
crises which have generated terrorism. For the sake of avoiding
'distractions' from its Iraqi morass, the right-wing Republican
administration of U.S. President George W. Bush has taken the PRC's
side in pushing to suppress the DPP government for its efforts,
including the 'U.N. for Taiwan' referendum, to defend Taiwan's
actual existing sovereignty from explicit negation in international
organizations, including the U.N. itself, and is putting at risk
both the survival of one of Asia's most genuine democracies and the
future prospects for the development of democracy in China itself.

"This moral disaster will ultimately turn into a geopolitical
debacle. As the PRC is praised by Washington as a 'responsible
stake-holder' despite its suppression of democracy at home and
support of equally authoritarian allies abroad, other world
democratic powers will be encouraged to 'engage' and appease Beijing
without any hesitation. ... If Washington policymakers think that
the world will be a better place without a democratic Taiwan and
after East and Southeast Asia is turned into a neo-authoritarian
theme park under Beijing's management, we sincerely suggest they
think again."

B) "Beijing's Deadly Trade Policy"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (2/12):

"... Worrying as this may be, the ongoing military buildup is not
China's greatest threat to the international community -- but its
amoral foreign business policy is. ... Although partner countries
welcome Beijing's policy of not interfering with their internal
affairs and not making business conditional on respect for human
rights, many fail to see that the practice will hurt international
security in the long run. From Sudan to Myanmar, China's
indifference to human rights violations in countries that provide it
with natural resources has led to grave abuses and fed wars. In
Sudan, violence now threatens to spill into neighboring countries
and disrupt regional order. ...

"Beyond bad business practice, Beijing's behavior also undermines
international efforts to prevent Tehran from successfully developing
nuclear weapons. By weakening the effect of the sanctions, Beijing
makes it likelier that states like Israel, which feels threatened by
the specter of a nuclear Iran, will act preemptively and open a
Pandora's Box of conflict in the Persian Gulf, with repercussions on
a regional -- and global -- scale. ... This is where the nexus of
China's military growth and its irresponsible business policies
possibly creates the greatest threat. Led by their domestic
military-industrial complex, modernizing military powers begin to
produce their own weapons. After a certain period, the
military-industrial complex reaches a point where it needs to export
weapons to finance its growth and continue to meet the demands of
government. There is no reason why China would not go down that path

and, in time, become a major arms exporter.

"Left unchecked, China's trade policy and lack of transparency in
the arms trade will feed wars in countries all over the world --
especially in resource-rich regions in Southeast Asia and Africa --
that cannot afford to purchase Western weapons or, because of their
conduct, are barred from doing so. Non-state groups like al-Qaeda,
and conceivably Hezbollah, would also have better access to more
modern and deadlier weapons made in China. For the sake of fair
trade, international security and the countless lives at stake, the
world must unequivocally tell Beijing that powers worthy of respect
must act responsibly in every sector."


© Scoop Media

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