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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Taiwan Arms Sales

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1062 2000842
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 180842Z JUL 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9543
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8459
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 9682

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001062

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: U.S.-TAIWAN ARMS SALES

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage July 18 on U.S. Pacific Commander Admiral Timothy Keating's
confirmation of the U.S. government's alleged decision to freeze
arms sales to Taiwan; on the new pension law; and on Tropical Storm
Kalmaegi's approach. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an
op-ed in the pro-unification "United Daily News" talked about
strategic thinking in China and the United States in light of the
alleged suspension of U.S.-Taiwan arms sales. A column in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" satirized Taiwan's arms procurement
from the United States, saying it is like paying protection money.
The column reminded the Taiwan government to be smart in buying
weapons and not to waste money. End summary.

A) "The Reconciliation across the Strait Reveals the U.S. and
China's Strategic Thinking"

Chen Hsin-chih, an Associate Professor of the Department of
Political Science at National Cheng Kung University, opined in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000] (7/18):

"... While the conciliatory atmosphere surrounding cross-Strait
relations is growing, the picture of the United States and China's
strategic thinking is clearer. In the short term, the possibility
that two hegemonic powers [the United States and China] fight a war
over Taiwan is decreasing. As a result, the United States will win
a period of time to rest and revive. On the other hand, the Chinese
Communists can focus on handling various domestic political and
social conflicts to lay the foundation for the rise of their
hegemony. Issues such as trade, human rights and being a
responsible global stakeholder will be the focus of arguments
between the United States and China in the future.

"First of all, the easing of tensions across the Strait has
mitigated the strain between the United States and China. This
makes the United States flexible in policies facing China's peaceful
rise. ...

"Second, the United States' leading status in the world has been
challenged in recent years. While the United States uses
multilateral means to reestablish its leading role, winning mainland
China's participation will be an indispensable prerequisite. If the
United States maneuvers through the international mechanism with
which it is familiar, mainland China will be a boost, not an
obstruction, to help the United States revive. Because of the
Chinese Communists' positive engagement, the United States was able
to obtain the diplomatic achievement of North Korea's eventual
denuclearization. Because of the Chinese Communists' assistance,
the window to deal with the Darfur crisis in Sudan was opened.
Sacrificing future cooperative opportunities between the United
States and mainland China because of Taiwan is more a loss than a
gain. The mitigation of cross-Strait tension reduces the United
States' political and military costs, which [the United States]
spends to stabilize global circumstances.

"Third, using military means to prevent Taiwan from changing the
status-quo might ruin the Chinese Communists' opportunity to have a
peaceful rise. Dealing with the Taiwan issue peacefully might draw
a new roadmap for [China's] hegemonic rise. The thaw of
cross-Strait relations reduces the possibility of two powers, China
and the United States, fighting a war directly on the Taiwan Strait.
Mainland China will not sacrifice its achievements of its
thirty-year economic reform. Moreover, [mainland China] will
enhance its international image and win a better opportunity to
become the next hegemonic power with better timing in the future.
..."

B) "A Fine Deed"

Yu Ai-tai wrote in the column "Spicy Apple" of the mass-circulation
"Apple Daily" [circulation: 500,000] (7/18):

"... Taiwan's security relies on the United States' protection,
which is an embarrassing reality that [Taiwan] must face. Procuring
weapons that the United States is willing to sell to Taiwan is more
like paying protection money [to the United States] than preparing
for war. Otherwise, how would the United States always pretend that
it is worried about the imbalance of military posture across the
Taiwan Strait, while it actually picks outdated arms to sell to
Taiwan? ..."

WANG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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