Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations; Anti-Human
DE RUEHIN #0943/01 1820912
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 300912Z JUN 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9363
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8404
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9633
UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 000943
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; ANTI-HUMAN
1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage June 28-30 on the government's effort and incentives to
boost the economy and revitalize the stock market; on the kickoff of
limited conversion between the New Taiwan dollar and the Chinese
Yuan (Renminbi); and on the preparation of the local tourist
industry and airports before the arrival of mainland Chinese
tourists. The pro-independence "Liberty Times" continued
criticizing the Ma Ying-jeou Administration's policy of leaning
toward China, featuring a banner headline on page four of its June
28 report saying that "U.S. Scholar Sutter Warned the Ma
Administration Publicly that the U.S. Might Sacrifice Taiwan if
Taiwan Leans Toward China."
2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
"Liberty Times," echoing Professor Robert Sutter's recent remarks
and noting a Chinese military exercise held at a civilian airport,
blamed the Ma Administration's cross-Strait policy for compromising
Taiwan's national security. An editorial in the pro-unification
"United Daily News" noted Chinese President Hu Jintao's skill in
managing cross-Strait relations. Former AIT Chairman Nat Bellocchi
opined in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" that
the Ma Administration has not been to state clearly what it wants
for Taiwan, while the people of Taiwan have the right to know. An
editorial in the conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" said that expanding Taiwan's international space relies
on mutual trust across the Strait. Another editorial in the "China
Post" expressed its support in a new law to combat the problem of
human trafficking in Taiwan. End summary.
3. Cross-Strait Relations
A) "The Purpose of China's Military Exercise Involving the Civilian
Aircraft is All Too Clear"
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
"On the eve of launching the direct charter flights across the
Strait on July 4, the Chinese media reported that the Chinese
military and the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC)
jointly conducted a first-ever 'parachute exercise for urgent need'
at Shijiazhuang Zhengding International Airport in Hubei Province on
June 18. The exercise, which involved eight civilian aircraft,
practiced transporting special forces and the operations of the
special forces to gain control of an airport. China's netizens even
commented that 'the return of Taiwan is coming.'
"At the same time, Professor Robert Sutter at Georgetown University,
who once worked at the Central Intelligence Agency, made a public
warning recently that Taiwan is in a weak position in between the
two strong powers of China and the United States. Taiwan has to be
clear about the fundamental interests of the United States. If
[Taiwan's] Ma Ying-jeou Administration turns its back to the United
States and walks with China, the United States does not rule out the
possibility of sacrificing Taiwan and reaching a deal with Beijing
directly on the Taiwan issue. ...
"In a word, the Ma Administration's general roadmap of governance is
to tilt in favor of China and follow China's orders. Ma has never
changed his claim of 'ultimate unification.' The Ma Administration
could not wait to propose the [policy of launching] direct charter
flights, opening Taiwan to Chinese tourists and lifting regulations
on financial exchanges across the Strait after assuming office.
However, the stock market still nosedived by 1,800 points, which
demonstrates that Ma's policy of leaning toward China is not working
at all. In addition, in terms of foreign affairs, Ma imposes
self-restrictions by 'putting a heavier emphasis on cross-Strait
policy than on diplomacy.' In terms of arms procurement, [Ma]
suspended the deal in order to fawn on China. Professor Sutter's
outspokenness has expressed the concerns of our important friends
such as the United States and Japan. In general, if the Ma
Administration continues walking on the current path, Taiwan will
not only see its economy collapse and military strength shrink, but
it will also be more isolated in the international community and
probably have to wait for China's takeover."
B) "Interpreting Hu Jintao's Skill in Managing Cross-Strait
The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
"[Chinese President] Hu Jintao's thinking and skill seem to have
jumped out of Chinese Communist leaders' tradition and patterns in
the past. For Taiwan, this is mixed with advantages and
disadvantages. The advantage is that there is progress and
immediate results in cross-Strait interaction; the disadvantage is
that the initiative tilts toward China. ...
"Hu's skill in managing cross-Strait relations is revealed in two
aspects. First, Hu cares about the main body instead of the trivia.
For example, [Taiwan's President] Ma Ying-jeou accused [Chinese
Premier] Wen Jiabao of [being]'arrogant and foolish' [during the
Tibetan uprising in March 2008], and Ma's appointment of Lai
Shin-yuan as Taiwan's Mainland Affairs Council (MAC) Chairperson
made the Chinese Communists upset and hesitatant [about Ma]. It is
reported that the reason [KMT Chairman] Wu Poh-hsiung suddenly
accepted the invitation and visited China was because of Lai's
appointment. Hu definitely has seen these disturbances in Taiwan's
political circles after the Ma Administration assumed office. Hu
actually could have thrown stones at Ma, who has fallen into a well
[suggesting hitting Ma when Ma was down]. However, Hu avoided these
trivia and endorsed Ma's policy of 'launching direct flights on July
4.' Hu not only became a player in Taiwan's political circles, but
he also had dialogue with the Taiwan people directly, which did not
necessarily give face to Ma.
"Second is the revision to 'unilateralism,' which is an important
signal showing Hu's differences from his predecessors. In the
meeting between Hu and [Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation
Chairman] Chiang [Pin-kun] on June 13, Hu proposed a sixteen-word
principle for cross-Strait negotiations, which is 'conducting
negotiation based on equality, communicating based on goodwill,
accumulating consensus, and making progress with pragmatism.' Hu
also clarified that conducting negotiation based on equality means
'not to impose its own wishful thinking on the other side.' The
word might suggest that Taiwan 'not impose its own wishful thinking'
on the Mainland. However, it also sounds as if the mainland 'will
not impose its own wishful thinking' on Taiwan. Hu also said that
[one side] 'must understand the other side out of the goodwill;' and
'has to seek a resolution pragmatically that both sides accept.'
All these reveal revisions to 'unilateralism.' If there is any
falsehood in Hu's thinking and skill, then Hu is Machiavellian. If
there is genuineness [in Hu's thinking and skill] then, indeed, Hu
is a statesman. ..."
C) "Keeping the Taiwanese Informed"
Former AIT Chairman Nat Bellocchi opined in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (6/29):
"... Neither side wants to raise sensitive issues in discussions,
and ambiguity will continue to prevail. So how will the people of
Taiwan - a full democracy whose people have the right to know what
its government is doing - be assured that their fundamental rights
are being protected? This is a delicate and difficult task, and it
falls to the president and his administration to meet both sides'
"The problem is that signing a 'comprehensive economic cooperation
pact' with China without agreeing on fundamental issues such as
political matters could be dangerous. The Ma Ying-jeou
administration has yet to state clearly what it wants for Taiwan.
This is becoming clearer to China and the US, as it is to the
Taiwanese public. ...
"There is an interest in maintaining the status quo - protecting the
country's democracy is part of this - and in bolstering economic
growth. Yet the names 'Taiwan' and 'Taiwanese,' the issue of
sovereignty, and for many eventual de jure independence, remain in
"Establishing a broad pact with China on a number of issues could
easily generate problems with many smaller issues in which meaning
is clouded by ambiguity.
"Taiwan should continue pursuing a constructive relationship with
China, of course, but the results should be acceptable to
D) "Taiwan's International Space Is a Long Shot"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (6/28):
"... If [Chinese President] Hu Jintao means what he says, Taiwan's
international space will be expanded at no expense to Beijing. It
will be a win-win situation, which Hu says he is seeking.
"But here is the catch. There is no mutual trust. It has been
destroyed completely by two decades of confrontational politics
under Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. Ma Ying-jeou's presidency is
barely six weeks old. He will have to do more to win Beijing's
trust and 'goodwill.'
"In the long run, the prospects for Taiwan's greater international
space are good if mutual trust can be rebuilt. The optimism is
based on the fact that both sides are determined to seek a win-win
situation after experiencing a painful period of hostility that was
in the interests of neither side."
4. Human Trafficking
"... Trafficking Legislation Should Punish Smugglers"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (6/29):
"We fully support the proposal for having a special Anti-Human
Trafficking Law, and hope to see our legislators come up with a
comprehensive bill that can finally address this growing problem.
"For such a law to be effective, provisions must be drafted that
impose stiff punishments for people convicted of smuggling or
exploiting illegal immigrants. ...
"The new anti-trafficking law should impose stiff punishments for
passport and ID card fraud and increase the budget for police and
judicial cooperation with other countries, especially the United
States, Canada, Australia and European Union members. ...
"In addition, budget money should be allocated to promote increased
cooperation between law enforcement authorities in Taiwan and
counterparts in mainland China, such as sharing intelligence on
human smuggling operations by means of our Straits Exchange
Foundation and mainland China's Association for Relations Across the
Taiwan Strait. ..."