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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0001
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0605 1220951
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 010951Z MAY 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8814
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8227
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9468

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000605

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: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS


Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage May 1 on the meeting between Taiwan's Mainland Affairs
Council Chairperson-designate Lai Shin-yuan and Straits Exchange
Foundation (SEF) Chairman-designate Chiang Pin-kun on Wednesday
night; on China's Taiwan Affairs Office's response to Lai's
appointment; and on the controversy over Taiwan's Soochow
University's attempt to limit professors' TV appearances. In terms
of editorials and commentaries, an op-ed in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" tried to work out several messages that
the appointment of Lai has sent to China, the United States and
Japan. End summary.

"Use Lai Shin-yuan to Decrease the Suspicion that [Taiwan's
President-elect Ma Ying-jeou] Is Pro-China!"

Lai I-chung, the Principal Deputy Director of the Department of
International Affairs in the DPP, opined in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (5/1):

"... Although China has not commented openly on the appointment of
[Taiwan's] Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairperson, this
appointment undoubtedly is an 'accident' for the Beijing government.
If [China] thinks that [Taiwan's President-elect] Ma Ying-jeou had
no choice but made the appointment in order to expand his base [in
Taiwan], China can even legitimately reckon that Ma's advocacy does
not have the support of the majority of the Taiwan people. If that
is the case, then why does China have to accommodate Ma and fulfill
all of Ma's requests? Against this background, how on earth does
Beijing view the 'advantageous policies' that Ma proposed, for which
China's cooperation is required? Does Beijing see Ma's positive
moves as [ways] to mitigate cross-Strait relations, or does
[Beijing] think that Ma is only attempting to ease his predicament,
in which he is under attack from both left and right, by pressuring
China?

"Since the appointment has limited effect on [Ma's] claim to expand
his base in society, it will be more complicated for Ma's government
to integrate its strategic teams for cross-Strait and foreign
affairs. [The appointment] even gives China an excuse to 'listen
and watch'. The only explanation for the appointment is that it is
to respond to international concerns that Ma is too pro-China.

"The United States has now taken a more cautious attitude compared
to its encouragement to resume dialogue [across the Strait] at the
end of March. [The change of attitude] is not only because of the
'China craze' after the 'Hu-Siew meeting' [in the Boao Forum], but
also is connected with Ma's strategic thinking that 'cross-Strait
[relations] outweigh foreign affairs'. The United States is
probably worried that Ma's government, because of China's
opposition, will downgrade the level of the Taiwan-U.S. security
cooperation in order to ease cross-Strait relations. Japan is also
worried, once controversies arise between Japan and China, whether
Taiwan, at Beijing's request, will close ranks with Beijing to
confront Japan. Giving the MAC to someone who is from a 'non-Blue'
background, whose party [the Taiwan Solidarity Union or TSU]
supports arms procurement, and whose party leader [TSU spiritual
leader and former President Lee Teng-hui] has a significant Japan
connection, indeed has the effect of partly dissolving international
concerns that Ma is pro-China. By the same token, considering the
issue of [Ma] integrating [his] teams, does the international
community also think that there are still many variables in Taiwan's
cross-Strait policies and is therefore lowering its expectations?
..."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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