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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. And Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0009
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1544/01 3050959
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 310959Z OCT 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0238
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8689
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0136

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001544

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. AND CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS

Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused October 31
news coverage on the detention of former National Security Council
Secretary-General Chiou I-jen Thursday for alleged embezzlement of
government diplomatic funds; for the upcoming visit to Taiwan by
China's Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS)
Chairman Chen Yunlin and the planned talks between ARATS and
Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation; and on the new lottery winners
in Taiwan Thursday. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an
editorial in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" hailed President Ma
Ying-jeou's "general orientation which upholds peaceful interaction
across the Taiwan Strait," calling it a move that is "most welcomed
by the United States and will not irritate China." An editorial in
the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times," however,
scorned President Ma's selection of former Vice President Lien Chan
as Taiwan's envoy to the APEC summit. The article said "one could
even suggest that Lien was perhaps Beijing's -- and not Taipei's --
choice." End summary.

A) "Arrangement Should Be Made for [DPP] Chairperson Tsai Ing-wen to
Meet with [ARATS Chairman] Chen Yunlin"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 500,000]
editorialized (10/31):

"... Relations across the Taiwan Strait should have moved from
confrontation to harmony since China's relations with the United
States have improved. Interactions between Beijing and Washington
have accelerated in the wake of the terrorist attacks on September
11, 2001; the [current] financial tsunami has all the more
highlighted the intimate interdependent relationship between the two
countries in terms of trade and finances. At this moment, the
United States is keen to see cross-Strait relations thawing, so that
they will not sabotage its grand global strategy.

"As a result, it is the most sensible course on which Taiwan's grand
strategy is moving, along with the international trend, from
pro-U.S. and anti-communist to the direction of pro-U.S. and
befriending China. Such a direction, which is most welcomed by the
United States and will not irritate China, is the best status for
Taiwan. President Ma's general orientation, which upholds peaceful
interaction across the Taiwan Strait, is absolutely accurate and
should be given full support.

"Current cross-Strait relations are at their most harmonious state
in the past 16 years. [China's Association for Relations across the
Taiwan Strait Chairman] Chen Yunlin's attitude also demonstrated his
respect for Taiwan's status and for the Taiwan people, so there is
no reason why [Taiwan] should object to his visit. The
establishment of a friendly relationship requires fine and subtle
engineering, and systematized and regular negotiations between
officials [of both sides] are a necessary means to facilitate
bilateral relations. Chen's visit [to Taiwan] is the necessary and
only way [for both sides] to construct a negotiation platform. The
Taiwan government should make the best preparations it can [for
Chen's upcoming visit] in an attempt to stabilize cross-Strait
relations and eliminate miscalculation and accidental eruption of
hostilities. ..."

B) "Mr. Lien Goes to Lima via Beijing"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (10/31):

"The Presidential Office announced with much fanfare on Wednesday
that former Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) chairman Lien Chan would
represent President Ma Ying-jeou at the APEC leaders summit in Peru
next month. The trumpets were out because, as a former vice
president, Lien will be the highest-ranking former official to
represent Taiwan at the annual forum. ... In selecting Lien, the
Presidential Office clearly resorted to the safest option, as there
was little chance that China would reject him given his
Machiavellian past. Lien is China's man. He has shown on many
occasions in the past that he is all too willing to toe the line of
Beijing's united-front policy and denigrate Taiwan's sovereignty. It
was Lien who put Taiwan's sovereignty on its current slippery slope
when in 2005 he undermined the authority of the Chen government by
traveling to China and meeting Chinese officials. ...

"One could even suggest that Lien was perhaps Beijing's - and not
Taipei's - choice. Given the shady communication channels that exist
between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party, it would not be
surprising if the two parties reached a secret deal on Taipei's
representation. ... Lien's attendance in Lima will no doubt be spun
as the latest indicator of China's benevolence, but in reality most
people couldn't care less who represents Ma at this inconsequential
annual gabfest. They care more about Taiwan's entry to the WHO or
the UN, goals that look like a lost cause following China's outright
dismissal of Ma's 'pragmatic' UN bid last month. The Ma
administration may have perfected the art of taking China's snubs

and spinning them in a positive fashion, but as last Saturday's
600,000-strong anti-government protest showed, people's reserves of
goodwill for Ma and his cross-strait strategy are at a critical
low."

YOUNG

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
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