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

VZCZCXYZ0002
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1339 2532357
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 092357Z SEP 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9921
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8590
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0036

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001339

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

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage September 9 on the various measures currently being
pondered by the Ma Ying-jeou Administration to stimulate Taiwan's
stock market and economy; on the surge in global stock prices Monday
after Washington announced the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie
Mac; and on continued investigation into former President Chen
Shui-bian's money laundering and state affairs fund cases. In terms
of editorials and commentaries, a column in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" alleged that the United States must have a
role in the recent interaction across the Taiwan Strait. The column
also reminded Ma that strengthening the island's national defense
will not necessarily compromise Taiwan's wish to have more space in
the international community. End summary.

"Cross-Strait Interactions under the New International Reality"

Deputy Editor-in-Chief Kuo Chen-lung wrote in the International
Column of the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation:
300,000] (9/9):

"The remarks by [China's] Taiwan Affairs Office Director Wang Yi
Sunday revealed Beijing's latest attitude towards its talks [with
Taiwan]. [China's] Association for Relations across the Taiwan
Strait Chairman Chen Yunlin will be coming to negotiate with Taipei
in late October, and the issues both sides will discuss will be
all-inclusive; almost everything can be talked about. This is
[Beijing's] response to the earnest expectations of the Ma Ying-jeou
Administration. The Presidential Office's making public [the
contents of] an interview [by Ma] with the Mexican daily, "El Sol de
Mexico", in return, has initiated a new round of goodwill gesture
[between Taipei and Beijing]. ...

"Prior to the publication of the press release about [Ma's]
interview, National Security Council Chairman Su Chi had arrived in
Washington D.C. September 1 for a secret visit. A reasonable guess
[about Su's visit] was that both sides of the Taiwan Strait had
already had some rehearsals and communications beforehand on things
they each wanted to say. Thus, it was not until after Su had got a
green light from Washington, which also expressed its support,
following his meetings with relevant U.S. officials, including a
deputy national security advisor and those in charge of Asia-Pacific
issues, in which they had discussed and went over the process
related to the second round of cross-Strait interactions, that the
Presidential Office released the content of Ma's interview with "El
Sol de Mexico" via the Central News Agency. Getting the
international community involved [in cross-Strait interactions] is
clear proof that the Ma Administration has becoming increasingly
nimble in its diplomatic methods. [Such a move] not only can avoid
doubts from the United States but will also help to earn Taiwan some
assistance when it comes to the issue of Taiwan's international
space.

"Ma's '1992 Consensus' has reassured Beijing, but his 'no
unification and no independence' has made Beijing agonize as well;
in particular, some people are concerned that [offering Taiwan more]
international space will only make Ma more reluctant to unify with
China. As a result, Ma's statement that 'both sides of the Taiwan
Strait are [in] a special non-state-to-state relationship" was a
re-definition of cross-Strait relations, which are not the 'special
state-to-state relationship' as described by Lee Teng-hui and are
certainly different from the 'one state on either side [of the
Strait]' doctrine advocated by Chen Shui-bian. ...

"In fact, in the interview Ma merely touched on, but did not
elucidate or deny, what Taiwan really is. However, Presidential
Office Spokesman [Wang Yu-chi], in a failed and inferior attempt to
elaborate on Ma's idea, claimed that such a [special
non-state-to-state] relationship is one of 'region to region' under
[Taiwan's] Statute Governing the Relations between the Peoples of
the Taiwan Area and the Mainland Area. [Wang's elaboration] has
instead stripped [Ma's statement] of room for ambiguity. ...

"In reality, strengthening [the island's] national defense versus
improving cross-Strait relations can be free of contradiction.
[Taiwan's moves to] purchase arms from the United States and conduct
the Han Kuang military exercises are ways to accumulate bargaining
chips for its future negotiations [with China] and to prevent itself
from being forced into signing a peace treaty under [China's] threat
of force. Similarly, a diplomatic truce does not mean that foreign
service staff is 'having holidays in the office.' [Ed. Note: taking
a vacation on the job.] There are so many types of tasks that can be
performed to expand [Taiwan's] international space. Those diplomats
who complain of having nothing to do only show their incompetence.
..."

YOUNG

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