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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0760 1550821
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 030821Z JUN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9059
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8323
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9564

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000760

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 June 3
news coverage on new Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou's
first meeting with the local media Monday, in which he elaborated on
President Ma Ying-jeou's concept of a "cross-Strait diplomatic
truce;" on DPP Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen's questioning of the KMT's
approach in handling cross-Strait relations; on Taiwan's
preparations for opening the island to Chinese tourists; and on
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak's slumping approval rating and
his government's decision to delay the planned resumption of U.S.
beef imports. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial
in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" criticized KMT Chairman Wu
Poh-hsiung's recent remarks that China is unlikely to fire missiles
at Taiwan. The article said Wu's "indiscreet" statement will only
create an illusion for the Taiwan people and will likely paralyze
the Taiwan military's awareness of possible cross-Strait crises. An
editorial in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
remained skeptical about the future development of cross-Strait
relations and said "it is too early to tell where thawing relations
between Taipei and Beijing will take us." End summary.

A) "Wu Poh-hsiung's Indiscreet Remark"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000]
editorialized (6/3):

"[KMT Chairman] Wu Poh-hsiung's remark upon his return [from a trip
to China] that Beijing would not launch missiles against Taiwan has
caused a disturbance [in Taiwan]. One can say that Wu has made an
indiscreet remark.

"Negotiations between two countries on disarmament, arms control or
removing missiles would be an issue of major significance. Only
after days of long talks between the delegations from both sides,
taking time to discuss every detail, and employing all their guiles
could some modest achievements possibly be reached. China's missile
deployments target the United States, Russia, Japan, India and
Taiwan, and a slight move or change in any way will affect the whole
situation.

"Besides, missiles are the most effective strategic weapon for
suppressing Taiwan independence - thus they cannot be removed
easily. Moreover, if China insists that Taiwan offer something in
return [for its removal of missiles], could Taiwan give up
purchasing the F-16C/D fighter jets? [Taiwan] has given up its
major bargaining chips by stating stupidly and voluntarily that it
will not purchase submarines and PAC-3 missiles. What price will
we have to offer in exchange if [we] ask China to remove missiles in
the future? ..."

B) "Beijing's Grand Illusion of Peace"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (6/3):

"Less than three weeks have passed since the Chinese Nationalist
Party (KMT) administration was sworn in and already, if we are to
believe world headlines, the Taiwan Strait has been transformed from
one of the world's most dangerous flashpoints to the milieu for a
neighborly spat. Optimism is high, especially in the wake of KMT
Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung's recent visit to China and talks with
Chinese President Hu Jintao, which prompted some, including US
National Security Council Senior Director for Asian Affairs Dennis
Wilder, to praise the rekindled dialogue across the Strait. ...

"But it is wise to remain skeptical on just how solid the basis for
all this optimism is. ...Wu's optimism about a possible reduction in
missiles, meanwhile, is gullibility at its most extreme. For one,
even if China were to dismantle or redirect some of its missiles,
the fact remains that hundreds would still be aimed this way. One
missile - and the threat to use it - is one too many. Furthermore,
quantitative cuts mean very little when they could easily be offset
by the increasing precision of those still active. In other words,
as long as the intent to use missiles against Taiwan exists, talk of
cuts is meaningless. ... It is too early to tell where thawing
relations between Taipei and Beijing will take us. While there are,
indeed, signs that tension might be diminishing, it is in the long
run, when Beijing's patience is tested - and it will be, if
Taiwanese negotiators meant what they said when they vowed to
protect Taiwan's interests and dignity - that we will see if the
KMT's professed intentions will be answered in kind."

WANG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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