Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations, Tibet


DE RUEHIN #0550/01 1120959
R 210959Z APR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage April 19-21 on President-elect Ma Ying-jeou's cabinet
lineup; on the reform of the DPP; and on speculation over the
alleged dispatch of U.S. Marines to guard AIT's new office in the
future. The pro-independence "Liberty Times" Sunday ran a banner
headline on page one that said "Taiwan-United States Relations'
Subtle Change; The United States Will Dispatch Marines to Guard

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an op-ed in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" suggested that there should be a
third party participating in cross-Strait negotiations. An
editorial in the conservative, pro-unification English-language
daily "China Post" criticized the United States as being overly
cautious for allegedly sending three United States aircraft carrier
battle groups to patrol the waters off southeast Taiwan. An
editorial in the pro-independence "Liberty Times" criticized
president-elect Ma Ying-jeou's "wishful thinking" on the "1992
consensus and one China with respective interpretations," saying it
will bring new disasters for Taiwan's sovereignty. Another
editorial in the "China Post" criticized China, the Dalai Lama, and
Western leaders, including United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi,
for their alleged failure properly to handle the Tibet issue,
bringing negative consequences to the relay of Olympic torch around
the world. End summary.

3. Cross-Strait Relations

A) "The Cross-Strait Negotiation Must Be a Three-Party Game"

Chen I-hsin, a PhD candidate in Economics at the School of Oriental
and African Studies at the University of London, opined in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000] (4/21):

"Cross-Strait negotiations certainly are an issue between two
governments on both sides across the Taiwan Strait. As long as the
United States and Japan intervene, [they] will be counted as butting
into Taiwan or China's national sovereignty, which cannot be
justified. However, given the special background of cross-Strait
circumstances, peaceful cross-Strait negotiations do not themselves
to being ratified only between Taipei and Beijing. [Peaceful
negotiations] in black and white without international supervision
and the promise of the use of force would be in vain, no matter how
well designed. This is an innate predicament of cross-Strait
relations, which proves that cross-Strait negotiations cannot be a
two-party game only, and Taiwan's new policy of 'cross-Strait
non-denial" has to receive international recognition. In other
words, if a future cross-Strait governance structure cannot be put
under a superior structure of the global governance, a game between
two mothers fighting for a child without King Solomon's supervision
cannot determine for sure that the fake mother will definitely not
raise a knife against the innocent child, Taiwan."

B) "What Are the Aircraft Career [sic] Battle Groups For?"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] (4/21):

"So why are the three American naval task forces [the Kitty Hawk,
Nimitz and Lincoln aircraft carrier battle groups] staying near
Taiwan until the day when [Taiwan's President-elect] Ma [Ying-jeou]
will be sworn in as president? Who are they guarding against?

"The logical conclusion is that the Americans are afraid President
Chen [Shui-bian] may do something extraordinary to prevent Ma's
inauguration. Frank Hsieh attacked Ma in a smear campaign for
carrying a 'green card,' a certificate of permanent residence in the
United States with which the latter might flee Taiwan in case
'something very wrong' occurred across the Strait. Campaigning for
Hsieh, Chen declared repeatedly he could not 'transfer power' to a
green card holder. The United States wants to ensure a 'peaceful
transition of power' in Taiwan. Washington knows Chen is an
extraordinary man capable of doing anything to survive his certain
trial for corruption. His first lady was indicted for corruption in
2006, charged with borrowing invoices and receipts from relatives
and friends to claim an NT$18.4 million [US$607,160] reimbursement
from a public fund under her husband's control for the conduct of
'affairs of state.' She is on trial. Chen was not indicted, as
Taiwan's president is immune to criminal prosecution, but was
regarded as a co-defendant, who will be formally charged on leaving
office. The first couple will stand trial together after May 20 and
the chances are that they will be both convicted. He is likely to
wind up in prison like Chun Do Huan [sic: usual spelling is Chun
Doo-hwan], a former president of South Korea.

"The Americans are overly cautious. Chen Shui-bian may try, but
cannot provoke China into attacking Taiwan to give him an excuse to
declare war and stay in office. Nor can he concoct a 'coup d'etat'
to remain in power. Taiwan is a democracy where the rule of law

prevails. No colonels would listen, when told to lead their troops
to overthrow a government. And it is impossible for the couple to
flee like Fernando and Imelda Marcos of the Philippines. The
Filipino first couple couldn't have fled without the help of Uncle

C) "Taiwan's Sovereignty Is Facing New Disasters"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (4/21):

"... It is thus Ma Ying-jeou's wishful thinking that China has
already acknowledged the 1992 consensus and one China with
respective interpretations. Given such a situation, Ma's proactive
efforts to resume dialogue and talks with China, push for direct
transportation [across the Taiwan Strait], allow more Chinese
tourists to visit Taiwan, lift the ban on Chinese investments in
Taiwan's real estate market and open the exchange of currency
between the two sides will only mislead the international community
into believing that Taiwan has accepted the 1992 consensus as
defined by China. In other words, [the international community]
will mistakenly believe that Taiwan has disparaged itself under the
one-China principle.

"If 'one China with respective interpretations' were true, wouldn't
China's enactment of the Anti-Secession Law in 2005 have become an
unnecessary move? While China is targeting Taiwan with more than
1000 missiles and seeking to contain Taiwan in the international
community using the one-China principle, Ma is still holding great
expectations for 'one China with respective interpretations.' [Ma's
expectations] are akin to bowing submissively to China and letting
it do whatever it wants with Taiwan. China, on the other hand, is
using its persistence in the one-China principle in the
international community as a pretext and feigning ambiguity in order
to wipe out Taiwan's sovereignty one step at a time. ..."

4. Tibet

"No Gold in Torch Issue"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] (4/19):

"The Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibet spiritual leader, and Western
human rights groups and politicians like Reporters Without Borders
and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, may have erred in their
calculation that the public humiliation of China would pressure it
into concession at a time when Beijing is all but ready for the
Games - a grand international coming out party to showcase the
accomplishments it has made in the past 30 years.

"While there is no evidence to bear out Beijing's accusation that
the Dalai Lama was behind the March 14 riots in Tibet, the
72-year-old monk can hardly wash his hands clean by pretending that
he had nothing to do with it, judging from the influence he claims
to wield over his followers. The ensuing protests by Tibetans in
the West to disrupt the torch relay around the world, with the help
of human rights groups everywhere, have effectively tarnished the
holy flame, which was running like a fugitive instead of a revered
symbol of peace. ...

"In all likelihood, talks between Beijing and the Dalai Lama appear
out of the question. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate is unlikely to
have his dream for a culturally-independent Tibet realized before
his reincarnation. In this sense, the Dalai Lama is a loser.
Beijing will not forgive him for messing up the party and causing it
to lose face. ...

"But Beijing is also a loser, and a big one to boot. All of a
sudden, it has become the lightning rod of world outrage. But it
has only itself to blame for the mess which could have been
prevented. As we have pointed out in this space before, brutal
force won't solve the unrest in Tibet. Soft power would be more
effective. In the end, Beijing may have the consolation that
current "crisis" could be a boon because it has made Beijing popular
and legitimate as never before. True to the saying that for every
cloud there is a silver lining. Beijing's gain, if at all, is
pyrrhic at best."


© Scoop Media

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