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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0806 1610947
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 090947Z JUN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9126
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8348
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9581

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000806

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: During June 7-9, controversy over the foreign permanent
residency status of officials in the Ma Ying-jeou administration
continued to remain in the spotlight of the Taiwan media. In the
meantime, news coverage also focused on the upcoming talks between
Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and China's Association
for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS), on the tuition
increase at local universities, the fertilizer price hike around the
island, and on agricultural losses caused by the recent heavy rains
in central and southern Taiwan. The centrist, KMT-leaning "China
Times" ran a banner headline on June 9 on page three reading "For
the First Time in SEF and ARATS Dealings, Vice-Ministerial Level
[Taiwan] Administrative Officials Will Sit down at the Negotiation
Table [with China]." In terms of editorials and commentaries, an
op-ed in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" said the real challenges
for the KMT administration are to ask China to remove its missiles
aimed at Taiwan and to relax its efforts in squeezing Taiwan out of
the international community. End summary.

"[Asking] China to Remove Missiles [Aimed at Taiwan] Will Not Be
Easy"

Dr. Lin Cheng-yi, research fellow at the Institute of European and
American Studies, Academia Sinica, opined in the mass-circulation
"Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000] (6/9):

"... President Ma Ying-jeou has said more than once that China's
removal of its missiles aimed at Taiwan is a pre-condition for both
sides of the Taiwan Strait to clinch a peace accord. Both sides of
the Taiwan Strait are about to launch direct charter flights over
the weekends, and it will be an ironic and dissonant scene if China
continues to increase its missiles deployed in Fujian, Guangdong,
Jiangxi, Zhejiang and Anhui provinces. As a result, not only the
KMT, but also the DPP, the United States, Japan and European Union
should all join in demanding that China remove, and not just freeze
or reduce, all its missile deployment aimed at Taiwan.

"If China only removes the missiles targeting Taiwan without
destroying or dismantling their warheads, it will still be able to
deploy those missiles at Taiwan if the DPP resumes power or if
tension rises across the Taiwan Strait again in the future. How to
kill several birds with one stone will be the focal point for
Beijing when it ponders altering the missile deployment aimed at
Taiwan. It is the United States that Beijing will appeal to when it
reduces the missiles targeting Taiwan, even though the move will
also create a certain political and psychological impact on Taiwan.
If Beijing wants to extend a goodwill gesture, it can remove those
missiles in a low-profile and unilateral manner or do it with some
publicity. But if it insists on negotiating with the United States
[over the issue], it will mean that it has a hidden agenda.
Different voices have arisen now in the United States with regard to
whether or not Washington should sell F-16 fighter jets to Taiwan or
help Taiwan get the submarines. Such a debate will become more
complicated once Beijing decides to remove the missiles aimed at
Taiwan. It will also become a focus of discussion among major
European countries whether the EU should lift its weapons embargo on
China. ...

"The KMT administration is about to fulfill its promises on direct
flights across the Taiwan Strait and opening Taiwan to Chinese
tourists. But how to ask Beijing to remove the missiles and relax
its efforts to squeeze Taiwan out of the international community are
the real challenges. Should both sides engage in talks over the
[removal of] missiles, a written agreement will be more assuring
than China's [oral] announcement that it will remove the missiles.
... Deeds are more important than words when it comes to China's
removal of missiles. No matter whether Beijing reduces, removes or
destroys the missiles [targeting Taiwan], it will be conducive for
the future development of cross-Strait relations. But what is
important is that prior to Beijing's announcement that it will
renounce the use of force against Taiwan, Taipei must show its
determination to defend itself, and Washington must continue
assisting Taiwan to defend itself based on the 'Taiwan Relations
Act.' It is fine for Taiwan to welcome China's move to remove the
missiles, but Taipei should not optimistically believe that the
shadow of war across the Taiwan Strait will be gone and that both
sides will live in peace forever."

WANG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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