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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0005
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #0919/01 1790856
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 270856Z JUN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9304
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8401
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9630

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000919

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
June 27 news coverage on the Central Bank's new measures to battle
inflation and on the liberalization of financial and tourist
exchanges across the Taiwan Strait. The pro-independence "Liberty
Times" ran a banner headline on page three reading, "The United
States Confirms That U.S. Naval Vessels Were Monitoring China's
Military Exercises against Taiwan during the [Island's] March
Presidential Election." The paper also devoted half of its page
three to reporting and analysis of China's military exercise and the
response measures of the United States.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a "Liberty Times"
editorial cited recent remarks by U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice and Assistant Secretary of Defense for Asian and
Pacific Affairs James J. Shinn, respectively, and criticized the Ma
Ying-jeou Administration for overlooking China's military threats
against Taiwan. A separate "Liberty Times" commentary also
questioned the Ma administration's call for a "diplomatic truce" and
urged Ma to act more proactively to enlarge Taiwan's international
space. An editorial in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taiwan News" discussed the recent remarks by China's Taiwan Affairs
Office Director Wang Yi that China will not accept Taiwan's formal
participation in the World Health Organization. The article said
Wang's remarks indicated that the Ma Administration's cross-Strait
policy has compromised Taiwan's sovereignty. End summary.

A) "The Ma Administration's Passionate Gesture [toward China] Is
Greeted with Indifference; How Embarrassing for the [Taiwan]
People"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (6/27):

"... U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a warning tone
during a June 19 interview that 'even though the United States
encourages developments in cross-Strait relations, it has a
relationship with Taiwan as well.' Assistant Secretary of Defense
for Asian and Pacific Affairs James J. Shinn also pointed out in
House testimony the other day that the United States continues to
monitor the reinforcement of military strength of the People's
Liberation Army's deployment on the other side of the Taiwan
Strait.

"Even the United States, which is located far away on the east side
of the Pacific Ocean, has been deeply worried about the Ma
administration's paying little attention to Beijing's military
threats and tilting toward China. Shouldn't the 23 million people
[of Taiwan] be more alert [about the Ma Administration's policy]?
Rice also appealed to China, saying that the United States wants to
see Taiwan have 'real space' in the international community. It is
thus clear that allowing a democratic Taiwan to survive in the
international community with dignity is one of the U.S.'s policies
as well. It is regrettable that the Ma Administration does not seem
to care whether Taiwan has 'real space' in the international
community. ...

"[China's Taiwan Affairs Office Director] Wang Yi's remark that
[China] 'will try to establish a new framework' [for Taiwan to share
information with other countries once avian flu breaks out in
Taiwan] is apparently not 'real space' as indicated by Rice.
Instead, it is meant to lock Taiwan tightly in the 'one China
principle'. What is worrisome is that President Ma Ying-jeou, who
has opened his heart to China by accepting the one-China consensus,
probably will hastily accept the 'framework' that China has
tailor-made for Taiwan, which China defines as a 'local government.'
President Ma has already said that, regarding Taiwan's
participation in the World Health Organization (WHO), 'there is no
better name than the name of Chinese Taipei.' Since President Ma
has personally fed a tiger with flesh, why does China need to be
polite? ..."

B) "Diplomacy Has to be Pro-Active, Not Passive"

Dr. Lin Cheng-yi, research fellow at the Institute of European and
American Studies, Academia Sinica, wrote in the "The Taipei Society
Commentary" column of the pro-independence "Liberty Times"
[circulation: 720,000] (6/27):

"... Under the concept of 'diplomatic truce,' Taiwan must accept the
'one China' principle. The KMT's assertion of the 'one China with
respective interpretations' and 'the 1992 consensus' in accordance
with its philosophy indicates that the KMT has basically accepted
the 'one China' principle. However, [Taiwan's] unconditional
concession has made it more reliant on Beijing's goodwill and
[subject to] compromise as to whether a 'diplomatic truce' will be
feasible. ...

"If [the approach of] 'diplomatic truce,' which means accepting the
'one China' principle, is unable to help Taiwan become an observer

in the World Health Assembly, [it will mean that] what it can
achieve is no better than [what was accomplished by] the former DPP
government's provocative moves. Becoming an observer in the World
Health Assembly is not only the basic goal of Taiwan's [policy of]
'diplomatic truce,' but also a test for Taiwan's bid to join the
World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The new government
can talk about 'diplomatic truce.' However, how to make the
European Union and other Western countries move from supporting
Taiwan's 'meaningful participation'[in international activities] to
becoming supportive of Taiwan's observer status in the WHO, as the
United States and Japan have done, will be the most important
challenge [for the Ma Administration]."

C) "PRC Gives Ma WHO Wake-Up Call"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (6/27):

"... [China's Taiwan Affairs Office Director] Wang [Yi]'s
declaration proves that Beijing has not the slightest intention of
allowing Taiwan to directly affiliate with the WHO regardless of our
moniker and also manifests the assumption that the PRC is Taiwan's
international representative and that any information-sharing
between Taiwan and other countries on health threats must take place
through Beijing's framework. Such an arrangement would be no
different in principle than the secret May 2005 MOU between the PRC
and the WHO that requires all contacts between the Geneva-based
organization and Taiwan to be vetted in advance and carried out
through the PRC Ministry of Health.

"This arrangement places Taiwan in an even more subordinate position
than Hong Kong, which enjoys full WHO membership even though it is a
PRC 'special administrative region.' In sum, Wang's 'wake-up call'
sends the message that Ma's strategy of conceding our sovereignty
will only sacrifice Taiwan for China's benefits and, if continued,
will lead only to Taiwan's international suicide."

YOUNG

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