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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Un Referenda, Kosovo Declaration

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0229/01 0510423
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200423Z FEB 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8151
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7844
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9105

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000229

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 REFERENDA, KOSOVO DECLARATION
OF INDEPENDENCE


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage February 20 on the March presidential election and the UN
referenda; on Taiwan's official acknowledgement of Kosovo
independence; and on the controversy regarding whether the island
should continue construction of its fourth nuclear power plant. The
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" front-paged an
exclusive news story quoting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza
Rice as saying Monday that Kosovo's independence was a special case
and did not set a precedent for other territories seeking
independence. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an op-ed in
the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" discussed Taiwan's UN
referenda, saying that it is the "name" that Taiwan intends to use
for its UN membership, not the procedures, that is the problem. An
editorial in the pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News"
discussed Kosovo's declaration of independence and said it
"generated mixed reaction abroad and in Taiwan." End summary.

2. Taiwan's UN Referenda

"The Sensitivity of [UN] Referenda Does Not Lie in Their
Procedures"

Shao Chung-hai, visiting professor at the Macau Polytechnic
Institute, opined in the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times"
[circulation: 400,000] (2/20):


"... Given that what happened to Kosovo on the Balkan Peninsula will
likely trigger a trend [encouraging] some ethnic minorities to move
toward independence, Beijing will surely be more prudent in handling
[Taiwan's] 'referenda' issue. As for the role Washington has been
playing in such a controversy by making harsh remarks to Taipei,
many people tend to interpret as they have because the [UN
referenda] are not consistent with U.S. national interests. But
such interpretation does not sound very convincing when it comes to
the question of why [Taiwan's UN referenda] will endanger the United
States' national interests. [More questions also rise] when people
see the strong support the United States offered to Kosovo when the
latter declared independence, even at the risk of offending Russia
and facing Serbia's strong backlash. The difference [in the U.S.
attitude] indicated [the possibility that] Taipei has failed to
estimate accurately the strategic interests between Beijing and
Washington. Or perhaps Taipei has underestimated the opposite
parties, believing that Beijing and Washington will just make some
loud noises [without taking real action], even if Taiwan conducts
the referenda.

"As it stands now, it is sure that the referenda will be held, and
more criticism will not undo what is done. But Taipei can still
make a U-turn if it realizes that the key lies in the name [that
Taiwan uses to apply for the UN membership], whereas the procedure
was never an issue."

3. Kosovo Declaration of Independence

"Mixed Messages of Kosovo Liberty"

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

"Sunday's declaration of independence of the small Balkan state of
Kosovo, a former landlocked province of Serbia which has been under
limited self-government and United Nations administration since
mid-1999 after a military intervention by the North Atlantic Treaty
Organization, generated mixed reactions abroad and in Taiwan. ...
As noted in an earlier editorial ("Why Kosovo, not Taiwan?" on June
14, 2007), citizens of Taiwan can be forgiven for feeling a bit
envious for the rush by the United States and other democratic
states to 'provoke' the powerful Russian Federation by encouraging
and recognizing the independence of a state which remains
politically unstable and requires security assistance from a United
Nations peace-keeping force and has questionable economic
viability.

"In contrast, these same democratic paragons remain unwilling to
even consider acknowledging the existence of Taiwan's fully
independent democratic republic and instead fall over themselves in
their eagerness to appease the PRC by slamming the Taiwan government
for allowing the holding of referenda in which the Taiwan people
will have their first ever opportunity to express their views on
whether they want to join the U.N. ... Interestingly, the positive
response of Taiwan's foreign ministry was at odds with the reaction
of its counterpart in the Chinese Communist Party-ruled PRC, which
expressed 'deep concern' over 'Kosovo's unilateral declaration of
independence.' ...

"... Evidently, Beijing has no intention of following its own advice
to Kosovo and Serbia and believes that 'negotiations to reach a
OF INDEPENDENCE

mutually acceptable plan' is a genuine option for relations between
the democratic and self-governing Taiwan and the authoritarian PRC.
Liu's statement takes on special significance given its concurrence
with our March 22 presidential election since it convincingly shows
that the PRC government will allow no room for ambiguity that its
'one-China principle' defines Taiwan as nothing else than 'part of
the PRC' regardless of Taiwan's actual existing independence or the
will of our 23 million people.

"Liu's statement stands as a confirmation that the position offered
by KMT presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou that cross-Strait
negotiations can be reignited by acceptance of 'the Consensus of
1992' which Ma defines as 'one China with separate interpretations'
and which he maintains that 'China' as the 'Republic of China' is
nothing more than a self-deceiving delusion. Beijing has not
adopted a strategy of 'different positions toward insiders and
outsiders' but has followed a 'single standard' of demanding
Taiwan's surrender of its 'outsider' status as a democratic
independent state and acceptance a subordinate 'insider' status
under the PRC as the price of 'peace.'"

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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