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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0013
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0719 1440922
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 230922Z MAY 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8996
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8299
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9541

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000719

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


1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
May 23 news coverage on Beijing's formal and positive response to
President Ma Ying-jeou's inaugural speech, on the Cabinet's decision
Thursday on fuel and electricity hikes, and on the opening and
acceleration of exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. The centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" ran a news story on page four with the
headline "Ma: Washington 'Pleased' by Development of the Situation
in Taiwan."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" slammed President Ma and some of
his moves and said Ma is trying to "get rid of Taiwan, rip Taiwan
off of its sovereignty and turn Taiwan into a local government." An
editorial in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily," however, praised Ma
for having taken the correct first step. An analysis in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" said Beijing has demonstrated a
relaxing and friendlier attitude toward Taiwan, but it will not
easily make concessions before the kick-off of cross-Strait talks.
End summary.

A) "No More Fighting for Taiwan's National Survival and
Development?"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 700,000]
editorialized (5/23):

"... In his inaugural speech, President Ma mentioned Taiwan many
times, but throughout the logical arrangement of his entire speech,
[one finds that] Taiwan has become a geographical name rather than
an independent sovereign nation. The country that Ma identifies
with is not Taiwan, but the Republic of China (ROC) outlined in the
ROC Constitution, which includes mainland China and Republic of
Mongolia. ... Judging from a series of moves aimed at political
struggles and changing [Taiwan's] national identity, such as
removing the word 'Taiwan' from the official stamp commemorating
Ma's inauguration and the webpage of the Presidential Office, as
well as the decision of not to apply for the island's membership in
the UN using the name 'Taiwan,' [what Ma has been doing], in short,
is to 'get rid of Taiwan,' 'rip Taiwan off of its sovereignty,' to
'Sinicize Taiwan,' and also to 'turn [Taiwan] into a local
government.' ..."

B) "China Offers Positive Response"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000]
editorialized (5/23):

"... China's goodwill gesture is a big gift to Ma on his
inauguration, and the Ma Administration obviously needs to show
reciprocity. In this vein, both sides of the Taiwan Strait will
perhaps go beyond the various historical models, such as the United
Kingdom model, commonwealth, federation, dominion, etc, and create a
new, alternate interactive model for countries that split with each
other. Of course, the pre-condition is that Ma must insist on the
principle that the Republic of China is an independent sovereignty,
or it will be akin to being annexed [by China]. For Taiwan, the one
and only foreign policy is to [follow] realism. As a result, it
must be tilted toward the United States and befriend China and not
confront the United States and oppose China, as the [Chen Shui-]Bian
administration did. Ma's first step is in the right direction."


C) "Chen [Yunlin] Echoes Ma in Choice of Words and Ideas"

Journalist Wang Li-chuan noted in an analysis in the pro-unification
"United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (5/23):

"... President Ma advocates reconciliation and truce between the
two sides of the Taiwan Strait and more elbow room for Taiwan in the
international community. Beijing, [in return], has adopted a
strategy of dodging and no [direct] response, using real action to
show that it is 'putting aside differences.' It is evident that
Beijing's attitude is relaxing and its choice of words very
friendly, whereas its position remains firm. It is unlikely that
Beijing will make any concession regarding issues of principle
before the kick-off of cross-Strait talks. ..."

WANG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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