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

VZCZCXYZ0007
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0574/01 1160746
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 250746Z APR 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8762
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8197
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9438

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000574

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


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language April 25 dailies
focused news coverage on Taiwan's Supreme Court not guilty verdict
for President-elect Ma Ying-jeou in his special allowance case; on
Taipei Deputy Mayor Samuel Wu's resignation amid allegations that he
received money from an arms dealer; on AIT Director Stephen Young's
participation in Taiwan's annual Yushan crisis drill; and on the
speculation that former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card will
lead the United States delegation to Ma's inauguration. The
centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" ran a banner headline on page
four that said "To Congratulate Ma on Inauguration, the United
States Might Send Former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card to
Lead the Delegation." The China Times also carried Card's bio and
another story on the complex connection between Ma's wish to visit
the United States and the United States' decision to appoint Card to
lead the delegation.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an opinion in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" criticized Taiwan's annual
Yushan crisis drill for being "unprofessional" and the DPP
government's decision to allow AIT Director Stephen Young to enter
the Yuanshan command center as compromising Taiwan's national
dignity. An editorial in the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times"
urged Taiwan to reestablish its strategy in foreign affairs by
emphasizing Taiwan's advantages in culture and democracy. End
summary.

A) "The Yushan Crisis Drill Is Unprofessional"

KMT Legislator Ting Shou-chung opined in the pro-unification "United
Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (4/25):

"Scenarios in the Yushan crisis drill are decided by [Taiwan's]
National Security Council. However, from the aspects of crisis
management and military, [the scenarios] are totally
unprofessional.

"Crisis management is meant to foresee the future but cannot go
against reality. The purpose of an exercise is to verify
contingency plans and conduct training in times of peace.
Objectives of an exercise have to include various simultaneous
factors including a constantly changing external environment,
conditions, capabilities, and technology - rather than groundless
imagination. [The scenario that simulates] China's surprise attacks
on [Taiwan's] east coast in 2020 is unrealistic. Surprise military
attacks normally target command, control, communication, and
intelligence systems. In the real Persian Gulf wars and the Chinese
Communists' planning for acupuncture warfare, communications and
power grids are listed as the first target. It is impossible [for
China's military] to attack [Taiwan's] east coast at the beginning
[of a conflict]. ...

"What is more absurd is that the Yushan crisis drill practiced
aiding Americans to evacuate their nationals. In real examples of
various countries, whenever [a country] is involved in a military
conflict, it regards the evacuation of expatriates as a strike
against its troops and civilians' morale, and it is a taboo which
will reduce the international community's concern [about the
country]. To our surprise, Taiwan has this kind of item for
verification in the drill. Also, while Taiwan's representative to
the United States is unable to pass through the door of the [United
States] State Department, AIT Director Stephen Young can drive
straight into the supremely critical Yuanshan command center. Our
country's diplomacy compromises on reciprocal national dignity a bit
too much."

B) "Diplomatic Challenges that [Taiwan's] New Government Faces"

The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (4/25):

"Washington ...in the end is not allowing [Taiwan's President-elect]
Ma Ying-jeou to visit the United States. However, after all that,
it is raising the level of the special envoy who will attend [Ma's]
inauguration ceremony. [The United States] on the one hand
maintains a perspective on international reality and on the other
hand is expressing its goodwill to, and its expectations of,
[Taiwan's] new government. Similarly, the international community
also expects that Taiwan's diplomacy will return to rationality and
pragmatism. How to rebuild the diplomatic strategies to protect
Taiwan's survival, development, sovereignty and dignity will be a
serious topic for the new government. ...

"Taiwan's diplomatic predicament results from a wide gap in power
between both sides [of the Taiwan Strait] and China's insistence on
a zero-sum game. We, being a weak power, have to try our best to
strengthen ourselves and accumulate bargaining chips to earn a
minimum space for survival and the status of sovereignty in the
international community. It is regrettable that [the work of
Taiwan's] diplomacy has been flamboyant and has wasted its

long-cultivated diplomatic resources in the last few years just for
the country's leader to show off or to perform electioneering for a
certain party. [Taiwan's diplomacy in recent years] used the
provocative concept of Taiwan independence to exhaust the
international community's sympathy for Taiwan and damage once-close
U.S.-Taiwan relations. What Ma is inheriting now is a devastated
diplomatic wasteland and he has to irrigate it from scratch again.
U.S.-Taiwan relations can be rebuilt quickly. However, [Taiwan's]
relations with other countries will need much more effort [to
rebuild]. For the first time, it will be a Latin American expert,
Francisco Ou, who takes the post of Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Not only because diplomacy must return to the professionals, but
also because Latin America, where our country's diplomatic strategic
importance lies, is on fire and [Taiwan] has to fight the fire
urgently. ...

"In fact, the major asset that Taiwan has is 'values.' The number
of diplomatic allies we have is not to be compared with China's. We
are short of the required votes to be a member of the United
Nations. However, Taiwan, with yet another change in the party in
power, has demonstrated that Chinese society can have a free,
democratic, open and mature civilization. For countries with mature
democracies, the continuing existence of these values [in Taiwan] is
very precious and has to be protected.

"Taiwan normally is in touch only with the bitter side of
international reality and...does not know how to use [its civil
society values] to market itself. Taiwan should focus more [on
marketing Taiwan's values] in the future. In order to maintain its
survival in the international community, Taiwan will need major
countries' support. Public opinion in these countries can be
influential in policy-making. If Taiwan's civil society values are
recognized in public opinion, governments' foreign policies will
have to respond. Many political leaders' decisions not to
participate in the relay of the Olympic torch or the opening of the
Beijing Olympic Games were based on public opinion and the attendant
pressure. The gap in power between Tibet and China is even greater
than that between Taiwan and China. Tibet can garner international
sympathy, so Taiwan should not underestimate itself. ..."

YOUNG

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