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

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0640/01 1291013
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 081013Z MAY 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8879
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8245
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9489

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000640

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

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage May 8 on the investigation into Taiwan's Papua New Guinea
diplomatic fund scandal; on the allegation that Taiwan's Ministry of
Economic Affairs wants to sell off the Sino Swearingen Aircraft
Corporation before May 20; and on the Sino-Japan summit with the
fourth communique signed. In terms of editorials and commentaries,
an editorial in the pro-unification "United Daily News" urged that
both sides across the Taiwan Strait stop the zero-sum game of money
diplomacy, saying that competing on the diplomatic front is old Cold
War thinking. An op-ed in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" urged
that Taiwan's President-elect Ma Ying-jeou not only continue
building up Taiwan's defense capability in order to counter China's
threat, but also reinforce Taiwan's security cooperation with the
United States in several aspects. End summary.

A) "Both Sides Across the Strait Cease Fire: Stop the Competition of
Money Diplomacy"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (5/7):

"The Papua New Guinea (PNG) scam worth NT$1 billion (US$30 million)
is like a monster-revealing mirror that reveals all the [Chen Shui-]
bian administration's abuse of power, incompetence and perversion.
Now it demonstrates that 'beacon-fire diplomacy' even comes down to
the nest of corruptive scandals. The upcoming administration not
only has to investigate and deal with the problems but also has to
remember the lesson and explore a feasible way of peaceful diplomacy
in cross-Strait relations and stop the meaningless competition of
money diplomacy.

"The long-term dogfight of both sides across the Strait on the
diplomacy front is the residue of the Cold War. Taiwan always
believes that maintaining a certain number of countries with
diplomatic ties is essential for living. On the other hand, the
Chinese Communists think that if [it] does not suppress [Taiwan] as
much as possible on the diplomacy front, Taiwan will take the
opportunity to declare independence. But when the trend of the
times is changing, when the world is becoming flatter, when the
fences among countries are drawing back and the barriers to
cross-Strait economic and trade exchanges are being torn down
gradually, cannot both sides [across the Strait] change their
thinking in foreign affairs?

"Internally, the KMT's 'dollar diplomacy' used to suffer extensive
criticism. After the DPP came to power, it changed [the KMT policy]
to 'beacon-fire diplomacy' and constantly uses a 'strategy of
collision' to simmer the consciousness of enemy and friend. In
reality, [beacon-fire diplomacy] only provides [Taiwan's President]
Chen Shui-bian with an extravagant stage to extend the internal
[power] struggle through 'head of state diplomacy.' From the point
of view of a country's overall interests, it is more a loss than
gain. In the last eight years, Taiwan not only has left the image
of being 'a trouble-maker' internationally, but even the United
States, who is always friendly to us, gradually feels even more
impatient. Besides, Taiwan has not been able to participate in any
international organizations by 'attacking and forcing its way in.'
Instead, it makes the Chinese Communists reinforce containment and
make Taiwan even be more marginalized in the region.

"The occurrence of the PNG scam illustrates that the DPP's
diplomatic strategies are not only totally wrong, but they also
degenerate into corruptive politics covering up each other:
nonprofessionals lead; money commands; goals are ambiguous; top and
bottom[-level officials] pursue fame and wealth; and the dignity of
the country is lost completely. Stripping off the outer clothing of
collision diplomacy, only opportunism and emptiness are left.

"In the last eight years, the [Chen Shui-] bian administration has
only gained three diplomatic allies but lost nine diplomatic allies,
which really was a terrible loss. During that period of time in
which Taiwan many times was provocative, overestimating its own
capability and suffering Beijing's revenge by [Taiwan's] strongholds
being pulled out. Just take two examples that happened during
[Taiwan's former Minister of Foreign Affairs] James Huang's tenure.
One happened last year when our country established ties with Saint
Lucia, a country with a population of no more than 100,000, the
Chinese Communists immediately and rapaciously took Costa Rica, our
very important diplomatic ally in Central America, one month later.
The other was two years ago, when Chen Shui-bian landed in North
African country of Libya in order to implement his global rogue
diplomacy, which he thought of as a significant breakthrough.
Nevertheless just a few months, the Chinese Communists seized Chad,
our diplomatic ally in Africa, as retaliation, and did it just
before [Taiwan's former] Premier Su Tseng-chang made his overseas
trip for the express purpose of embarrassing Su. [The Chen Shui-]
bian administration's tactics of being pound-foolish and getting one
while losing three are not only utterly foolish but also reveal [the
administration's] own shortcomings.


"Externally, money diplomacy has gradually deteriorated from
'necessary sins' to 'shameful sins.' Other than that many
countries, learning from past experience, have been swaying between
and blackmailing both sides across the Strait, the 'shelf life of
formal diplomatic relations' that can be bought by money is getting
shorter and shorter, as countries with formal ties [with Taiwan]
move toward democracy. From time to time in the past few years,
[money diplomacy] has become the target of exposures and attacks by
opposition parties and international news media. The involvement of
money not only has contaminated the politics of counterpart nations
while facilitating the authoritative rule of their corrupt
officials, but it may become a tool for oppression against democracy
and human rights in the counterpart nations. In recent years,
dollar diplomacy has become a major factor implicating Taiwan's
image. The PNG scandal, in addition to wasting taxpayers'
hard-earned money, has made Taiwan an international laughingstock.
Isn't there enough harm done by dollar diplomacy?

"It appears difficult for the two sides across the Strait to seek a
'diplomatic ceasefire.' But it takes, in fact, nothing but a simple
turnaround of thoughts. From Lee Teng-hui's 'two-state discourse'
to Chen Shui-bian's 'name correction movement,' cross-Strait
relations were brought into a narrow alley. Precisely because of
the confrontation and wasteful dealings for more than a dozen years,
the two sides across the Strait should deeply recognize that this
kind of 'zero-sum game' is not helpful for each other's overall
situation. Seen from a long-term historical perspective,
unprecedented circumstances can be seen in the current cross-Strait
ice-thawing opportunity: not only do both Taipei and Beijing's
leaders maintain high degrees of goodwill for exchanges, but the
resuts of Taiwan's democratic elections also indicate that the
majority is happy to see the two sides engaging with each other
peacefully. Based on these [circumstances], it should not be
difficult for diplomatic personnel of the two sides to find a proper
approach to peaceful co-existence. There is no need to fight a
you-win-I-lose war any more.

"One needs new thinking to create a new situation. Both the new
president Ma Ying-jeou and the new foreign minister Francisco Ou
support a 'diplomatic ceasefire.' This is a pragmatic introspection
of [Taiwan's] diplomatic course. However, how to embody this
concept and realize it as a consensus that can be accepted and
abided by across the Strait depends on the wisdom and creativity of
the two sides. Among the basic ideas can be: based on the '1992
consensus/one China with different definitions,' Taiwan has been the
legitimate Republic of China all these years. Therefore, there is
no need for 'name correction and a new constitution.' The Chinese
Communists should stop seizing away Taiwan's diplomatic recognition
and coercing and containing Taiwan's participation in international
activities as well as preventing Taiwan from expanding its
'international space.' By doing so, the two sides can spend their
money and energy for operations more beneficial to their internal
affairs and affairs of the international community. This will be a
win-win game.

"One can smell spring in the ice-melting goodwill across the Strait.
But when thinking of trade and economic exchanges, the factor of a
diplomatic ceasefire should be taken into account. Only then can
it be a complete strategy. If the billion-dollar scandal can help
bring about a diplomatic ceasefire, then the price would not be paid
for nothing."

B) "Ma Should Be Careful Not to Weaken [Taiwan's] Defense Capability
While Pursuing His Defense Policy"

Fu S. Mei, director and editor-in-chief of the Taiwan Defense
Review, opined in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation:
520,000] (5/7):

"... If the incoming administration expects to promote peaceful
cross-Strait dialogue in the coming eight years, the continuous
accumulation of our country's self-defense capability should not
really be suspended.

"Ma's administration is likely to review the priority of [Taiwan's]
investment in defense. Building the national defense capability
cannot only be evaluated based on short-term political or strategic
losses and benefits but also comprehensively based on its impact on
long-term national security. For example, Ma's national security
staff is always concerned that 'offensive weapons,' such as the
'Hsiung Feng II-E' cruise missiles and submarines, might constitute
a factor of 'instability' to the situation across the Taiwan Strait
as well as the United States' views on [the offensive weapons].
However, the surface-to-surface cruise missiles and submarines are
not the only legitimate, non-replaceable, and fighting requirement
militarily and defensively that has undergone serious and
professional analysis, but also an actual strength that China will
really care about in cross-Strait political negotiations in the

future. ...

"Another important issue is the strategic relationship and
cooperation between Taiwan and the United States. Ma's
administration eagerly wants to mend relations between Taiwan and
the United States and wants to use concrete moves to dispel
suspicions that the United States had on the Blue camp regarding
[the Blue camp's] boycott against the arms procurement budget over
the last few years. The procurement of F-16 fighter jets has been
regarded a touchstone. Washington's most recent position is that
the upcoming administration proposed applying again. In fact [the
United States] is obviously showing the green light. ...

"Promoting security cooperation with the United States military, one
has to know well what agendas and thinking the United States cares
about, then borrows that strength and uses that strength. For
example, in the last few years, [Taiwan's] Ministry of National
Defense has tried many times to negotiate with the United States to
establish a 'Military Maritime Consultative Agreement, MMCA,' which
the United States military had with the People's Liberation Army,
but all efforts were refused [by the United States]. An F-16
fighter jet of Taiwan's air force crashed in Taiwan's east coast
this March. For the very first time, the United States military at
its on initiative sent aircraft and vessels and secretly
participated in the rescue. According to the United States
officials' admission to the author, the major motivation of that
rescue was not only humanitarian rescue, but also because the lost
F-16 fighter jet had been equipped with advanced Link-16 system and
coding machine compatible with the United States military through
the 'Po Sheng Project'. These [items] are most treasured by the
United States military, and that is why the United States wants to
make sure the classified equipment does not fall into a third
country's hand. As a result, dealings with the United States has to
cut [from the angle] of the United States national security
interests. By taking advantage of what the United States cares
about, [Taiwan] can promote some kind of mechanism of maritime
security cooperation that is advantageous to us."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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