Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations


DE RUEHIN #0588/01 1201003
R 291003Z APR 08





E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage April 29 on the announcement of the second lineup of 18
Cabinet members; on the successful rescue of eight scuba divers; and
a victim whose blood clot and subsequent coma are suspected of being
caused by the contraceptive patch Evra.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, major newspapers
continued the discussion on the implications on cross-Strait
relations of appointing Lai Shin-yuan, a hardliner vis-a-vis China,
as the Chairperson of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council. An
editorial in the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" questioned how
Lai is going to accommodate her previous anti-China position with
her new position. A column in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" tried to interpret what message the appointment of Lai sends
to various sides. An op-ed in the "United Daily News" warned
Taiwan's President-elect Ma Ying-jeou that a wrong appointment,
suggesting Lai, might consume mutual trust between Taiwan and China.
A column in the pro-independence "Liberty Times" criticized Lai for
not being able to represent the Green camp's position at all. End

A) "Several Opinions on the Second Lineup of the New Cabinet"

The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (4/29):

"... After Lai Shin-yuan takes up her position [as Chairperson of
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC)], she will immediately face
the resumption of dialogue between Taiwan's Straits Exchange
Foundation (SEF) and China's Association for Relations Across the
Taiwan Strait (ARATS) in June, and the [opening of] weekend direct
charter flights in July. Will she accept them totally? She once
harshly lambasted the KMT for helping farmers sell fruit to China.
Facing the revised policy of Taiwan's Council of Agriculture (COA)
that the COA will use public funds to subsidy eight cities and
counties' fruit to sell to China, will [Lai] continue or expand the
policy? What is more important, the core of [Taiwan's
President-elect] Ma Ying-jeou's government to improve Taiwan's
economy lies in cross-Strait policy. The MAC is the key
organization in charge of whether policies [toward China] can be
eased, including [policies under the purview of] the Central Bank,
the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, the Ministry of
Finance, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, the COA, the Financial
Supervisory Commission, and even the Sports Affairs Council. If Lai
has different opinions, how will Ma's government manage? If Lai
does not have different opinions, how will she handle sarcasm from
both ruling and opposition party legislators during testimony before
the Legislative Yuan? ..."

B) "To Interpret Lai Shin-yuan"

The "Black and White" column in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" [circulation: 400,000] wrote (4/29):

"... At the onset of a new situation, everyone is trying to find
things out and explore, and 'releasing the wrong message' is
something that everyone is most afraid of. No matter what [Taiwan's
President-elect] Ma Ying-jeou's motivation is in appointing Lai [to
be the Chairperson of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council], it is up
to the various sides to 'interpret' the 'message,' which is
something that Ma cannot control. At the moment, not only Beijing
might 'misjudge,' but also the Blue camp internally does not know
how to 'interpret' [the message]. [Premier-designate] Liu
Chao-shiuan, in an implicit way, only said that cross-Strait
[policy] is the President's power. ..."

C) "[Taiwan's President-elect] Ma [Ying-jeou's] Having Too Much Fun
Will Consume Mutual Trust between Two Sides across the Taiwan

Hsieh Ta-ning, a professor in Taiwan's National Chung Cheng
University, opined in the pro-unification "United Daily News"
[circulation: 400,000] (4/29):

"... The reason for the choice is apparently that Ma hopes to expand
the foundation of his Mainland policy in society. What is more
important is that Ma hopes [former Taiwan President] Lee Teng-hui's
shadow hiding behind Lai [Shin-yuan, the Chairperson-designate of
Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council] can be a safety valve when
pan-Green people play with fire in the back yard while he pursues
breakthroughs in cross-Strait [relations]. Of course, Ma is
attempting to send out a clear message to the various sides,
including China, the United States and Japan, that his cross-Strait
policy will never tilt toward the other side across the Strait; he
will insist on the advocacy of Taiwan-centric identity. In other
words, the personnel arrangement is not for policy, rather for
political concerns. [The appointment of Lai] explicitly shows Ma's
hard hand in the cross-Strait issues. ...

"But to my point of view, the issue is not on Lai, but on another
face [Lee] that will definitely show on Lai's face. Everyone can
try to remember; didn't the crisis across the Strait reach its
boiling point because of the state-to-state relations [that Lee came
up with], and both sides across the Strait therefore lost all
foundation of mutual trust since then? At the moment when both
sides across the Strait seek to break the ice, what does it mean to
let Lee's face emerge again in such a clear way? Is it possible
that Ma attempts to implement a Lee roadmap without Lee? I believe
that this is a big question mark in everyone's mind.

"If that is the case, isn't Ma playing a joke on everyone? We all
know that there is a two-hand strategy when it comes to cross-Strait
policy. So it is understandable that Ma plays a hard hand. But
isn't it a bit too much to play [strategy] in such a way as to
consume hard-won mutual trust which has just begun to recover? ..."

D) "Eating Watermelon in the Middle of the Night" [meaning someone
exhibiting abnormal behavior]

The "Free Talks" column in the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
[circulation: 720,000] (4/29):

"... [Taiwan's President-elect] Ma Ying-jeou claims that a consensus
in the society can be forged by appointing Lai [Shin-yuan as
Chairperson of Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council]. [Ma] means that
the move is to cozy up to the 5.44 million voters who did not vote
for him and bring harmony to the society. However, the influence of
the Taiwan Solidarity Union is diminishing. Lai is also someone who
has an individual style, does not follow trends and has no symbolic
meaning in the Green camp. Whether Ma appointing this person is
able to heal the Green camp supporters' wounds is questionable ..."


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>