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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations, Georgia

VZCZCXYZ0011
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1252/01 2330933
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 200933Z AUG 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9802
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8553
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0002

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001252

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.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS, GEORGIA

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused August
20 news coverage on the continuing investigation into former
President Chen Shui-bian and his family members' alleged money
laundering, and on Chinese Taipei's defeat by the United States at
the Beijing Olympic baseball competition.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" criticized President Ma Ying-jeou's
first overseas visit, which was conducted in a low-profile manner,
for fawning on China and compromising Taiwan's interests in terms of
foreign relations. A column in the conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" said that U.S. President George W.
Bush's decision to attend the Olympic Games reflects his realization
that it is important to establish a balance in the Taiwan Strait.
With respect to the conflict between Georgia and Russia, a column in
the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" criticized Georgian
President Mikheil Saakashvili for self-incurring the disaster by
misjudging the ambition of Russia and the unreliability of the
United States. An op-ed piece written by a Western commentator in
the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" compared the
recent events in Georgia with Taiwan's situation. The article
alerted that "[J]ust like Moscow, Beijing has sought to break free
of what it perceives as attempts by the US to encircle it within its
region, and just as with Georgia, Beijing has come to see Taiwan not
as a problem between China and Taipei, or between two sovereign
states, but rather as part of a battle against US encroachment in
its own sphere of influence." An editorial in the conservative,
pro-unification, English-language "China Post," also commenting on
the current situation in Georgia, said the U.S. missile pacts with
Poland, not the split between Russia and United States over the
problem of South Ossetia, "will have a greater impact on the growth
in tensions in Russian-American relations. Remember Cuba." End
summary.

3. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

A) "President Ma Hands Our International Space for Survival into
China's Hands"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (8/20):

"... 'No unification, no independence, and no use of force' is
President Ma [Ying-jeou]'s so-called 'three noes policy.' This
time, Ma added 'three new noes' when he had transit stops in the
United States, which were 'no banquet for overseas compatriots, no
welcoming at the airport, and no interviews.' Either the 'three
noes policy' or the 'new three noes policy,' instead of talking
about them to the America's ears, both [policies] were Ma's
undisguised declarations to China that he does not have a second
thought about achieving ultimate unification. In fact, Ma had
declared his own stance a bit too much. The so-called 1992
consensus, diplomatic truce, and the Chinese Taipei have made
touched China deeply. There is no need for Ma to give more to put
China's mind at ease by having transit stops in the United States
and visiting countries with which Taiwan has official ties [in a
low-profile manner]. Since President Ma does not have the intention
to defend [Taiwan's] national sovereignty, Taiwan's undecided fate
can only be defended by the people [in Taiwan] who are willing to
fight for themselves at the key juncture."

B) "Cross-Strait Ties Need U.S. Balance"

Columnist Frank Ching opined in the conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" [circulation: 30,000] (8/20):

"U.S. President George W. Bush's decision to attend the Olympic
Games despite domestic political pressure reflects his realization
that it is important to establish a balance, so while the United
States may chide Beijing from time to time on human rights, the
overall approach is one of engagement. This policy has been largely
successful and ought to be continued by whoever succeeds him in the
White House. ... While competition, even antagonism, will
occasionally characterize the relationship, cooperation should be
the dominant theme. The U.S. and China will have to work together
on such issues on nuclear proliferation, terrorism, the environment,
climate change, and pandemic diseases. Otherwise, the world will
not have much of a chance for a bright future."

4. Georgia

A) "Don't Think About Relying on the Bush Administration"

Columnist Lin Po-wen commented in his column in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 400,000] (8/20):

"After enjoying himself so much and almost forgetting to go home
after the Beijing Olympics, and returning to his ranch in Texas
hastily for vacation, [United States President George W.] Bush used
a harsh tone to condemn Russia's invasion of Georgia. Bush said [in
the Rose Garden on August 15] that 'bullying and intimidation are
not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the Twenty-First
Century.' This sentence can also be used to condemn the United
States' invasion of Iraq and intimidation of Iran.

"The Bush Administration is not only unqualified to stand on the
moral pinnacle to criticize Russia but also lacks the diplomatic and
military strength to persuade Kremlin [to withdraw from Georgia].
The Russian troops withdrew [from Georgia] under a truce agreement
that French President Nicolas Sarkozy's mediated. Nevertheless,
[Russia] deployed its surface-to-air short-range missiles in Georgia
just before withdrawing its troops. Isn't what [Russia] does
equivalent to taking the truce agreement as a piece of wastepaper?
...

"Don't be silly, Georgians, [you] would be better off making friends
peacefully with the neighboring polar bears than with the distant
United States. The United States is unreliable, especially the Bush
Administration!"

B) "The Wider Implications of Georgia"

J. Michael Cole, a Taipei-based writer, opined in the
pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] (8/19):

"... The ramifications of the current situation in the Caucasus
could be severe for Taiwan, as Moscow's increasingly close ally,
Beijing, looks on and carefully analyzes the reaction from the
international community. Just like Moscow, Beijing has sought to
break free of what it perceives as attempts by the US to encircle it
within its region, and just as with Georgia, Beijing has come to see
Taiwan not as a problem between China and Taipei, or between two
sovereign states, but rather as part of a battle against US
encroachment in its own sphere of influence. Also worrying for
Taiwan is that Russia has historically considered South Ossetia to
be part of its territory and therefore a 'domestic' problem, just as
Beijing has long argued that Taiwan is part of China.

"If Russia was able to launch its assault against Georgia under the
pretext of defending ethnic Russians and Russian territory from a
Georgia that is perceived as a pawn in the US empire, then there is
nothing to prevent Beijing from reaching the same conclusion when it
comes to Taiwan.
The next days and weeks will therefore be of the utmost importance
as the international community formulates its response to the crisis
in the Caucasus. While bearing their share of the blame for boxing
Russia in, the US, NATO countries and the international community
must state in no uncertain terms that violation of a sovereign
state's integrity will not stand and that there would be severe
consequences for Russia if it continued its aggression. ... The
greatest security threat to Taiwan's future security would be for
the West to issue a mild reprimand and not take Moscow to account
for its war crimes, or fail to come to Georgia's assistance if war
were to continue. This is not a lesson the world wants Beijing to
learn."

C) "Cold War All Over Again?"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language "China Post"
[circulation: 30,000] editorialized (8/19):

"... Russia opposes the expansion of NATO. In the 1990s, it was too
weak to resist. But today, as the world's largest oil exporter, it
is eager to show its new power and send an unmistakable message:
Georgia, or the much larger Ukraine, will never be allowed to join
NATO. But the United States and Poland announced on Thursday, Aug.
14, an agreement to deploy a battery of American missile
interceptors in Poland, in the strongest reaction to Russia's
military operation in Georgia. A day later, Ukraine announced its
readiness to do the same after a long hesitation. Such actions
'cannot go unpunished,' Moscow has warned. The U.S. missile deals
reflect a growing alarm about the intentions of a newly rich and
powerful Russia. Negotiations for them dragged on for two years, but
were completed only as old memories and new fears surfaced in recent
days. The missile pacts, not the split between Russia and United
States over the problem of S. Ossetia, will have a greater impact on
the growth in tensions in Russian-American relations. Remember
Cuba."

WANG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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