Cablegate: Media Reaction: Tip Report, Cross-Strait Relations, Obama's
R 061121Z JUN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 9112
INFO AMEMBASSY BEIJING
AMCONSUL HONG KONG
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000797
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: TIP REPORT, CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS, OBAMA'S
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused June 6
news coverage on talks between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation
(SEF) and China's Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait
(ARATS), which will kick off next Wednesday; on President Ma
Ying-jeou's remark Wednesday that the precondition for both sides of
the Strait to seal a peace accord is that China remove missiles
aimed at Taiwan; on Minister of Foreign Affairs Francisco Ou's green
card controversy; on the Cabinet's decision to speed up construction
of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant; and on the results of the Basic
Competency Test for Taiwan junior high school students. Several
papers also reported on the State Department's "Trafficking in
Persons (TIP) Report 2008," in which Washington has placed Taiwan on
a list of "Tier 2" countries for human trafficking for the second
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" discussed the TIP report and called
it a burning shame for a modern society like Taiwan. With regard to
cross-Strait relations, an op-ed piece in the centrist, KMT-leaning
"China Times" spelled out the major points in both Taipei's and
Beijing's new strategies toward each other and toward Washington.
Former AIT Chairman Nat Bellocchi also opined in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" that cross-Strait
talks are a good thing. Editorials in the "China Times" and
pro-unification "United Daily News," on the other hand, discussed
Senator Barack Obama's nomination victory. Both articles called
Obama's nomination a "historic milestone" in the U.S. history and an
"enormous encouragement" for other countries. End summary.
3. TIP Report
"[Taiwan] Even Sold Human Beings"
The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000]
"The U.S. State Department issued its annual 'Trafficking in Persons
Report' two days ago, in which Taiwan remains on the Tier 2 list
among the 170 countries covered. This indicated that Taiwan has yet
to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of
trafficking, and that it remains primarily a destination for people
trafficked for the purpose of forced labor and sexual exploitation.
It is obvious that Taiwan's import and export [businesses] of human
beings are still flourishing.
"This is a burning shame [for Taiwan]. Respect for human beings is
generally regarded as an indicator for a modern society, and judging
from the report, it appears that Taiwan is a barbaric place where
people still eat birds and animals raw. As a result, what really
--First, This is a very embarrassing issue in the international
--Second, it indicated that the Taiwan government is powerless when
it comes to dealing with big trans-national organized crime.
--Third, it showed that Taiwan, including both its public and
private sectors, is in need of humanitarianism, and is not a
thoroughly modernized [society] yet. ..."
4. Cross-Strait Relations
A) "Both Sides of the Taiwan Strait Are Starting to Launch Their
Professor Edward Chen of Tamkang University's Graduate Institute of
American Studies, currently a visiting scholar at University of
Chicago's Department of Political Science, opined in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (6/6):
"In his inaugural speech, President Ma Ying-jeou put forward a grand
strategy for Taipei, and judging from the recent words and deeds of
the leaders in Beijing, it is evident that a grand strategy for
Beijing is also under deliberation. President Ma's new strategic
thinking includes the following five major points: First, Taiwan
views the United States as its most important ally, and as a result,
Taipei's top priority is to rebuild mutual trust with Washington and
to strengthen cooperation on bilateral security and trade. Second,
Taiwan also regards mainland China as its most important trade and
economic partner. It has thus listed the reinstatement of the
mechanism for cross-Strait talks and the resumption of dialogue
between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China's
Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) as its
top priority job.
"Third, in terms of Taipei-Washington ties, Taipei is using the
tempo of improved cross-Strait relations as leverage to exercise of
power, and issues such as the implementation of intellectual
property rights, and the import of U.S. pharmaceuticals,
agricultural products and weapons, are used by Taipei as bargaining
chips in talks with Washington. Taipei hopes to re-open talks with
Washington over the bilateral free trade agreement, to secure
security protection from the United States, and to develop closer
Taiwan-U.S. military cooperation.
"Fourth, with regard to cross-Strait relations, Taipei is using the
security and trade relations between Taiwan and the United States as
support, and using the possibility of another transition of power as
a tool in negotiating with Beijing. For the next stage, Taipei
hopes that having engaged with Beijing in talks on more sensitive
issues, such as [Taiwan's] foreign relations and politics, will help
resolve the marginalization crisis the island is facing in the
process of economic integration in East Asia. With Beijing's
consent, Taipei hopes to become a trade partner with ASEAN and seek
new breakthroughs in its participation in the international
"Fifth, the basic operation method of Taipei's new strategic
thinking is to use Taipei-Washington ties and cross-Strait relations
interchangeably and have them complement one another so as to attain
security protection from Washington and secure economic and trade
interest from Beijing.
"In response to Taipei's new strategic thinking, Beijing's new
strategic ideas toward Taipei and Washington can more or less be
assessed from recent words and deeds of the leaders in Beijing.
First, the Beijing authorities have evidently decided to replace
'one China with respective interpretations' with the '1992
Consensus' as the new basis for both sides to resume dialogue. ...
Second, Beijing obviously intends to replace 'one China' with the
'Chinese nation' as the framework for cross-Strait talks. ...
Third, for its own interests, Beijing has decided to make a clear
distinction between the trade talks across the Strait and talks on
issues such as foreign relations and politics. ... Fourth, Beijing
plans to extend the battle line of the talks on cross-Strait
'reconciliation and truce' so as to regain an upper hand [in the
"Finally, Beijing's new strategy will be to review its previous
approach of 'influencing Taipei by getting through Washington.' ...
In light of imminent improvement in cross-Strait relations, smooth
channels of communication between SEF and ARATS, the KMT-CCP
platform serving as the first track dialogue, and diminished
concern about Taiwan independence in the near future, Washington's
function as a mediator has become less important than before. ..."
B) "Cross-Strait Talks Are a Good Thing"
Nat Bellocchi, former AIT chairman and now a special adviser to the
Liberty Times Group, opined in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (6/6):
"... Talks between the two sides have been reopened. The initial
issues - cross-strait charter flights and admitting more Chinese
tourists to Taiwan - will likely be accepted by both sides and begin
next month as stated by President Ma Ying-jeou. Many, especially in
Taiwan, see these moves as leading to a better life. Just as many
seem less sure but will wait and watch what will follow and at what
cost. And quite a few others believe the changes being made are
It will likely continue this way for some time. However, as long as
Taiwan can maintain itself as a democracy, its people hopefully will
be able to follow the changes and express their rights when
5. Obama's Nomination Victory
A) "Will Obama Be Able to Write [a New Page in] U.S. History?"
The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000]
"... Even though there have been people of minority groups running
for the presidency before, Barack Obama is the first black man in
U.S. history who has captured the presidential nomination of a major
political party. This is a development that people could hardly
imagine in the past, and all the more, it is a historic milestone.
Regardless of whether Obama will win the election in the future, he
has marked a new page in history. Even though there is still a long
distance to the ideals advocated by Dr. Martin Luther King in his 'I
Have a Dream' speech, [Obama's nomination victory] has at least
indicated a solid stride forward. ...
"The fact that Obama has been able to overcome one difficulty after
another in the nation-wide primaries indicates that U.S. society
has, so far, really been thinking differently about the ethnic
issue. Even though there are people who still stick to traditional
ideas, quite a few people are able not only to tolerate racial
differences but also to go beyond the racial division and visualize
a homeland for all and a common future shared among different
individuals. The support for an unprecedented and even
unconventional presidential candidate is the most evident expression
of the people's pursuit of 'change.' ..."
B) "Obama: A Vision Greater than the American Dream"
The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
"... For the United States, it will not have completed the final
task left behind by the constitution of this democracy more than two
hundred years ago -- namely, paying no heed to race, and fulfilling
the ideal that 'all men are created equally' -- if it fails to take
the big step of 'electing a black man as president.' The
realization of such an 'American dream' will not only be an enormous
encouragement but will also serve as a model for other countries in
the world, which still suffer in their conflicts among races,
religions and languages. ..."