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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Taiwan Relations, Taiwan's Un

VZCZCXYZ1423
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0314 0670922
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070922Z MAR 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8287
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 7898
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9155

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000314

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.-TAIWAN RELATIONS, TAIWAN'S UN
REFERENDA

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies continued to
focus news coverage March 7 on the upcoming presidential poll, on
the UN referenda, and on the island's consumer price hike. In terms
of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the pro-independence
"Liberty Times" discussed the recent passage of a U.S. House of
Representatives resolution calling on the U.S. government to keep
its pledge to ensure Taiwan's democracy and security. The article
said the move indicated the United States' support and concern for

Taiwan, and it concluded by saying that the Taiwan people should all
the more cherish and safeguard the island's freedom and democracy.
An editorial in the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times," on the
other hand, called on both the Blue and Green camps to go back to
basics and leave it to the voters to decide whether they want to
cast ballots on the UN referenda. End summary.

2. U.S.-Taiwan Relations

"The United States Attaches Great Importance to Taiwan's Democratic
Development and National Security"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (3/7):

"... Taiwan has progressed from authoritarian governance to
democracy, and its political power has been transferred from an
alien power to a nativist regime. The transfer was accomplished
peacefully, while maintaining the island's economic prosperity. All
these made Taiwan a true perfect model for the United States in its
promotion of democratic values. Judging from this perspective, for
the United States, the significance of supporting Taiwan's democracy
should mean more than this 36,000-square-kilometer piece of land,
but should also [mean something] for China or even Asia. ...

"Does this mean that one can have no more worries about Taiwan's
democracy? Right at this moment, on the island [we] have the
lingering power of the [previous] alien regime seeking to resume its
power, and externally, [we] have a totalitarian China bent on
annexing Taiwan. It is safe to say that there are still weak links
with regard to Taiwan's democracy, which is on its way to
consolidation. In this vein, the U.S. House of Representatives'
passing a resolution two weeks prior to Taiwan's presidential
election calling on the U.S. government to keep its pledge to ensure
Taiwan's democracy and security has indicated both its support and
its concern for the island. Even our American friends [are feeling
this way], shouldn't we, as the host of Taiwan, cherish and work
more firmly to safeguard our freedom and democracy?"

3. Taiwan's UN Referenda

"Let the Referendum System Return to What It Was Originally Designed
to Be"

The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (3/&):

"... Since both Ma Ying-jeou and Frank Hsieh seem to have quit
hyping up the referenda issue, fewer people are talking about it
now. In other words, the 'UN referenda' have actually been
marginalized during the lead-up to the presidential election. When
the time comes, it does not seem very hopeful that the referenda
will pass their thresholds, let alone be passed by the voters. It
is no wonder that not only the United States has kept quiet [about
this issue] lately, but Beijing has also cut down its force in
criticizing the UN referenda. The chances are getting ripe for the
'UN referenda to fail to pass.' ...

"Let's return to the basics! One [side] can choose to bundle the
referenda with the presidential election, while the other [side] can
decide not to pick up the referendum ballots. But in the end, it is
up to all the voters in Taiwan to decide whether they want to pick
up their referendum ballots or whether they want to vote in favor of
the [KMT's] referendum to rejoin the UN or the [DPP's] referendum to
join the UN. The voters might have made up their minds already.
Why not leave it to them to decide? Perhaps it will take another
round of such similar experience for the people here to regain their
power over this mechanism of direct democracy - 'referenda' - or to
recover the sacredness of the mechanism. That way the referenda
will no longer be a tool to be bundled with the presidential
election, or a bargaining chip to be manipulated by the politicians
to intensify antagonism on the island. All the more, it will let
the leaders be more cautious when they plan to launch another
referendum next time, and the referendum will work better to reflect
the people's voices."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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