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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Taiwan Relations

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1316/01 2480854
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 040854Z SEP 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9888
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8577
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0023

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001316

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 RELATIONS

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused their
September 4 news coverage on President Ma Ying-jeou's failure in
realizing his economic platform proposed during the presidential
campaign; on Ma's definition of cross-Strait relations as "a special
non-state-to-state relationship"; and on the continuing
investigation into former President Chen Shui-bian's state affairs
fund and money laundering cases. In terms of editorials and
commentaries, an op-ed piece in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily"
criticized President Ma's excessive tilt toward China and said Ma
has "become a troublemaker identical with A-Bian in the eyes of the
United States." An op-ed in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taipei Times" listed several mistakes in the Ma Administration's
approaches to Taiwan's UN bid this year, including allowing the
United States to continue offering no support to Taiwan for the bid.
End summary.

A) "Two Troublemakers in the Eyes of the United States"

Former DPP Legislator Lin Cho-shui wrote in the mass-circulation
"Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000] (9/4):

"The United States originally believed that the military balance in
the Taiwan Strait would tip in favor of China unless Taiwan
purchased new fighter jets, so it has exhausted every means it could
use to persuade Taiwan to buy the F-16 C/D aircraft. Surprisingly,
however, Washington said it does not want to sell the fighter jets
[to Taiwan] any more. [Now] the United States and the Blue and
Green camps in Taiwan are shirking the responsibility and blaming
each other for the failed arms deal, and the whole issue has
developed into a mysterious puzzle. The general outline concerning
the evolving process of this issue has become more or less clearer:
The key lies in the fact that Washington has been greatly upset by
Taiwan's former President Chen Shui-bian and incumbent President Ma
Ying-jeou, and that Ma has been defined by the United States as
another troublemaker, succeeding Bian. ...

"[Retired] Major General Huang I-li of the Ministry of National
Defense Department of Strategic Planning's Division of Force
Planning, who has participated many times in the negotiations for
arms procurements, lately said, surprisingly, that 'a major reason
behind the fact that the United States has been unwilling to settle
the eight-item arms procurements as of now is that it is worried
that relations between Taiwan and Mainland China would get intimate,
and that the weapons Washington sells to Taiwan will likely fall
into the hands of Beijing in the future!' Huang's remarks may sound
horrifying, but they do not appear to be rumors. As a matter of
fact, Washington has been having constant doubts about Taiwan ever
since Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized in public that
'it is a good thing that Taiwan is improving ties with China, but
[Taiwan] must not forget the United States.' The most serious case
was of course the two noes brought up by AIT Chairman Raymond
Burghardt to the Ma Administration: Namely, 'there should be no
hint that China has sovereignty over Taiwan, and that Beijing cannot
have the final say regarding any of Taiwan's activities in the
international community. If Burghardt had really said so, it would
be akin to reproaching Ma in a totally impolite manner not to look
upon China as a suzerain state and see the island itself as a
dependent country [of China]. The United States also asked, 'does
Taiwan still need the United States to continue supporting it to
become an observer in the World Health Organization next year?' ...

"The afore-mentioned remarks by [retired] Major General Huang and
the hearsay surrounding Burghardt will, in general, be denied by the
United States in public. But these rumors are completely consistent
with the logic behind Rice's doubts about whether 'Taiwan remains a
friend of the United States.' Since the United States became so
furious as to make a big move by abruptly refusing its arms sales
[to Taiwan], it is by no means strange for Washington to express a
disgraceful reproach or even upsetting scorn [to Taiwan] in private.
As a result of [his] ambiguous concept of sovereignty, lack of
central values and excessive defeatism, Ma mistakenly believes that
his diplomatic truce, efforts to put cross-Strait relations ahead of
[Taiwan's] foreign relations or even to 'request international space
from China' will curry flavor with the United States. But to his
surprise, he has become a troublemaker identical with A-Bian in the
eyes of the United States.

"China must be very happy that Ma has succeeded Bian in the role of
being a troublemaker to the United States. However, the reward that
[China gave to Taiwan] is anything but reassuring; that is, China's
Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi was disdainful of Taiwan's
participation in the World Health Assembly (WHA), and Chinese
Ambassador to the UN Wang Guangya did not hesitate to show his
disdain for Ma's low-profile attempt to participate in UN
specialized agencies. Ma must be confused by all this, but it
should not be difficult [for Ma] to find out the reason why. Having
discovered that the United States has lowered its support for
Taiwan, Beijing must reckon that now is the best time to compress
Taiwan's road for survival even further.


"[Ma's] excessive tilting toward China has received nothing but
converging attacks from both China and the United States in return.
If people are insulted by others, it must be because they insult
themselves first. This is an inevitable consequence of the Ma
Administration's unwise adoption of overly weak cross-Strait and
diplomatic strategies."

B) "Ma's Non-Bid for the UN Is Anything but Meaningful"

Gerrit Van Der Wees, an editor of the Washington-based publication
"Taiwan Communiqu," opined in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (9/4):

"On Aug. 15, the administration of President Ma Ying-jeou launched
its version of the annual bid to join the UN. But instead of
knocking on the front door and asking for membership - as was done
last year by former president Chen Shui-bian's Democratic
Progressive Party government - Ma was meekly asking for 'meaningful
participation' in UN agencies. By using this approach, Ma and his
administration are undermining Taiwan's position on a number of
fronts. First, it opens the door for China to claim Taiwan as its
subsidiary; second, it endangers Taiwan's sovereignty because it
does not take its status as a free and democratic nation as a
starting point; and third, it gives the US and other Western
countries an excuse to maintain their 'do nothing' approach and
allow China to have its way in international organizations. ...

"On the third point: While Chen's front-door approach to UN
membership may have made Western governments uneasy, it did appeal
to their conscience in the same way appeals from Czechoslovakia and
Poland in 1938, before being invaded by Germany, made the West feel
uneasy. The subsequent developments in 1938 and 1939 showed how
wrong it was for the US and Western Europe to look the other way and
ignore the pleas of Czechs and Poles. Ma's approach has echoes of a
modern-day Neville Chamberlain: He pretends to be working for 'peace
in our time,' but his actions and policies are strengthening a
repressive giant's claims on a democratic neighbor. ..."

WANG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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