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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1550/01 3080925
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 030925Z NOV 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0246
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8693
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0140

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001550

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: CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese- and English-language dailies
gave significant straight news reporting and editorial coverage
November 1-3 to the five-day Taiwan visit by China's Association for
Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yunlin; the
talks to be held between ARATS and Taiwan's Straits Exchange
Foundation (SEF); and the planned demonstrations initiated by DPP.
News coverage also focused on President Ma Ying-jeou's interview
with several major Taiwan dailies Sunday, in which he reiterated his
insistence on upholding Taiwan's sovereignty when dealing with
cross-Strait issues; and on the continuing probe into former first
family's money laundering case. The pro-unification "United Daily
News" ran a banner headline on page two November 3 reading "Climax
of Ma [Ying-jeou]-Chen [Yunlin] Meeting: Planning to Request that
the Other Side [of the Taiwan Strait] Withdraw Missiles."

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
mass-circulation "Apple Daily" hailed Chen's visit and said, judging
from the international climate as well as Taiwan's current
situation, Taiwan needs to "change its previous pro-U.S. and
anti-Communist grand strategy to that of pro-U.S. and befriending
China, or it will hardly find a way out." An editorial in the
pro-unification "United Daily News" said the SEF-ARATS meeting will
be a trend for "peace and co-prosperity" across the Taiwan Strait.
A separate "United Daily News" op-ed also held positive views on the
upcoming cross-Strait talks, saying that such a breakthrough
development will help both Taiwan and China to create a win-win
situation across the Taiwan Strait. An editorial in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" called the SEF-ARATS meeting a "highly
difficult chess game," in which "whoever can grasp the true intent
of Taiwan's current mainstream public opinion will be the real
winner." An editorial in the conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" also welcomed Chen's visit and the
cross-Strait talks to be held in Taipei, saying they would benefit
Taiwan economically. The pro-independence "Liberty Times," on the
other hand, panned the SEF-ARATS talks, calling them "a ceremony in
which Taiwan welcomes envoys from a superior nation to sign a treaty
of surrender." An editorial in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" said "... courtesy of Ma's
ineptitude, it seems inevitable that cross-strait dtente was going
to arrive hand in hand with civil unrest." A separate "Taipei
Times" op-ed reminded Beijing that, while it is having dialogue with
Taipei, it should change its mindset and sincerely respect Taiwan's
sovereignty. An editorial in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taiwan News" criticized the KMT government for monopolizing
cross-Strait issues and hiding cross-Strait talks in a black box
without the oversight of the legislature. End summary.

A) "The Advantage of Chen Yunlin's Visit Outweighs Its
Disadvantage"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000]
editorialized (11/3):

"Why do we support and welcome [China's Association for Relations
across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman] Chen Yunlin's visit to
Taiwan? Judging from the general direction of mankind's evolution,
peaceful interaction is always better than confrontation and war.
Judging from the bigger perspective of the international climate,
the Cold War has ended; relations between the United States and
China are getting closer; and China has become a strong power in the
region. Realism becomes the only valid point of view for Taiwan.
[Taiwan] must face the reality of China's existence and its
influence. Judging from the smaller picture of Taiwan's
environment, recovery is necessary after heavy economic losses. [In
consideration of Taiwan's] national security interests, the United
States' demands, and the way out for Taiwan's democracy, [Taiwan]
needs to change its previous pro-U.S. and anti-Communist grand
strategy to that of pro-U.S. and befriending China, or it will
hardly find a way out. Taiwan independence is unlikely to be
realized within a [short] period of time, which is a cruel reality
that [the Taiwan independence activists] must face courageously.
..."

B) "Chiang-Chen Meeting in Taipei: Peace and Co-prosperity Are a
Historical Trend"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (11/3):

"... If one puts the 'Chiang-Chen meeting' in Taipei [this week]
against the coordination chart of 'history and reality' of the past
six decades, one can tell that the interactions across the Taiwan
Strait have been moving along with a major axis -- namely, 'public
opinion and peace' -- which has turned from invisible to visible and
from insignificant to significant. ... Public opinion yearns for
peace, so both sides of the Taiwan Strait must respond to public
calls. As long as the authorities on both sides of the Taiwan
Strait adhere to the supreme principle of 'peace,' interactions
between the two sides can satisfy public opinion calling for

'co-prosperity and a win-win [situation].' As long as the
authorities on both sides pay more attention to public opinion
calling for 'co-prosperity and a win-win [situation],' peace across
the Taiwan Strait can thus be maintained. ... We hope that Ma
Ying-jeou, Hu Jintao and future leaders from both sides of the
Taiwan Strait are able to outshine the level and accomplishments
attained by Chiang Ching-kuo and Deng Xiaoping in terms of their
thinking and practices on internal governance, and that such
thinking, practices, and achievements can be reflected in 'peaceful
and co-prosperous' cross-Strait relations."

C) "Chiang-Chen Meeting Not a Zero-Sum Game; Mutually Beneficial and
Win-Win to Both Sides of the Taiwan Strait"

Chao Chun-shan, Professor of the Graduate Institute of China Studies
at Tamkang University, opined in the pro-unification "United Daily
News" [circulation: 400,000] (11/3):

"... We believe that the consolidation of [Chinese President] Hu
Jintao's leadership and the smooth transition of government in
Taiwan for the second time are the important turning points for
creating a relationship in which both sides of the Taiwan Strait can
negotiate with each other and systemizes such negotiations. The
concept of 'harmony' raised by Hu not only is applicable to the
Chinese Communists when dealing with international and external
issues, but also conforms to what the current cross-Strait relations
need. ...

"... Therefore, the major challenge following the meeting between
Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) Chairman P. K. Chiang and
China's Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS)
Chairman Chen Yunlin is how to simplify every agreement that both
sides reach and turn them into something operational, making the
general public feel that they will directly benefit from such
agreements. Second, during the process of implementing [the
agreements], circumstances should be avoided in which
'countermeasures are taken during the process of policy
implementation;' and, furthermore, the circumstances in which
everyone does things his own way should also be avoided. Last, in
order to prevent cross-Strait relations from being interfered with
by some accidents, both sides of the Taiwan Strait should establish
a hotline mechanism to bring 'preventive diplomacy' and 'preventive
defense' into full play, which will prevent both sides [of the
Taiwan Strait] from miscalculating and causing misjudgment. ..."

D) "Chiang-Chen Talks Must Be Steered to a Positive Development
Direction"

The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 220,000]
editorialized (11/3):

"... In other words, in the next few days, we will likely see two
sets of disjointed images clashing with each other: one is
occasions on which representatives from Taiwan's Straits Exchange
Foundation and China's Association for Relations across the Taiwan
Strait meet and talk, and the other is scenes in which pro-Green
protesters demonstrate outside those meeting venues. ... These two
sets of images actually reflect the two kinds of group anxiety
currently flowing in Taiwan: One is the fear and anxiety that
Taiwan will be isolated from the globe or East Asia, and the hope to
plow a way out for Taiwan's sagging economy with alleviated
cross-Strait tension. The other is the anxiety that Taiwan will be
annexed by China, the fear that, with rapid interaction and
integration across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan's destiny will fall
into Beijing's hands. These two kinds of group anxiety are the two
parallel lines marking political confrontation between the Blue and
the Green camps in Taiwan, which will be released in the next few
days.

"One can say that this is a highly difficult chess game, with the
Blue camp hoping that the consensus reached on certain topics during
the Chiang-Chen meetings can be constructed into a milestone, with
which both sides can move further towards co-existence and
co-prosperity, while the Green camp is trying its best to turn any
consensus into evidence showing that the Ma Administration is
'leaning toward Beijing.' Either side that can grasp the true
intent of the current mainstream public opinion in Taiwan will be
the real winner in the Chiang-Chen talks."

E) "Welcome to Chen Yunlin"

The pro-unification, English-language "China Post" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (11/3):

"Taiwan sincerely welcomes Chen Yunlin. ... The ARATS chairman's
brief visit here marks not just the renewal of the dtente but a new
beginning of a rapprochement between the two sides of the strait,
which is urgently needed while Taiwan is bracing itself for the
silent tsunami triggered by the U.S. financial meltdown. Without

what is known as normalization of their economic relations, Taiwan
can hardly hope to survive the global tidal wave that may engulf it
in six months to a year. The regular meetings of the chairman of
the two organizations, which would follow the one in Taipei, will
help make that normalization a reality. ..."

F) "Chiang-Chen Meeting Will Not Be Able to Extinguish the Embers of
Taiwan's Democracy and the Taiwan-Centric Consciousness"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 700,000]
editorialized (11/3):

"... As a matter of fact, no matter whether it is based on the ROC
Constitution upheld by the Blue camp or the fact that Taiwan is
already an independent country, the talks between [Taiwan's] Straits
Exchange Foundation and [China's] Association for Relations across
the Taiwan Strait are in essence talks between two countries. They
are neither ambiguous talks between the two sides of the Taiwan
Strait, nor those between the KMT and the Chinese Communist Party,
which have gone beyond the authorities of each respective party.
But under the arrangement of the Ma Administration, the Chiang-Chen
talks seem to have become the KMT-CCP talks in disguise, or even
worse, a ceremony in which Taiwan welcomes envoys from a superior
nation to sign a treaty of surrender. ... The Chiang-Chen meeting
will be performed today. For the Ma Administration, it will be a
comedy, with unification being the theme of its story. But for the
majority of the Taiwan people, including the Blue camp, the meeting
is, without a doubt, a tragedy that cannot be redeemed. ..."

G) "The Beginning of Civil Disobedience"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (11/1):

"... In this case, however, the DPP protest [last weekend] marked
the beginning of the end of Ma's grace period as an engineer for
cross-strait rapprochement. The tide has turned, and the nervousness
of the Ma administration as it battles fiscal incompetence and
ideological banality reflects this. ... Consistent with the KMT's
legislative agenda, the government and judicial officers are
politicizing agencies to the point where their neutrality should be
called into question. The protests that will follow Chen Yunlin,
chairman of China's Association for Relations Across the Taiwan
Strait (ARATS), are threatening to tap dissatisfaction over these
developments, and could result in a deterioration that Ma manifestly
does not have the skill to handle. In other words, courtesy of Ma's
ineptitude, it seems inevitable that cross-strait detente was going
to arrive hand in hand with civil unrest. ...

"The irony of all this, of course, is that Ma was Washington's
preferred candidate. Yet the US seemed oblivious that the KMT
government was going to have to deal with concerted opposition to
its policies - and in the same manner as the ancient regime.
Representations have already been made to the US State Department
about increasing abuse of speculative powers by local prosecutors
and their disgraceful manipulation of the media. What kind of
reception they will receive is hard to predict. On the one hand, the
State Department boasts an admirable mechanism of global human
rights analysis that culminates in an indispensable annual report.
On the other, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has been tarred by
the Bush administration's attacks on fundamental judicial processes
in the Guantanamo Bay debacle.

"The likely scenario is that American Institute in Taiwan Director
Stephen Young will have a few quiet words with President Ma or
Premier Liu Chao-shuan after the ARATS visit is over. By that time,
it may be too late. There is evidence that politicized members of
the community are girding for something more dramatic. If this turns
out to be the case, the State Department and the AIT might refer to
an American classic of political thought, Civil Disobedience -
referred to on this page in yesterday's edition - before speaking
out. There they might find insights into the entitlements of an
unhappy citizenry in the face of a government that undermines civil
liberties and the spirit of the law."

H) "Beijing Must Change its Mindset"

Tseng Chien-yuan, an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at
Chung Hua University, opined in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (11/3):

"... Given the international disadvantage it faces, if Taiwan fails
to make it clear to the world that the Republic of China (ROC) is a
sovereign and independent nation based on law when Chen visits
Taipei as China's official emissary, we will be basically giving in
to Beijing and saying that China has sovereign rights over Taiwan.
The Taiwan Strait would become a part of China's waters and the
international community will not be able to intervene in any
disputes that may occur in the Strait, which would place Taiwan in a

dangerous position. ...

"If China is really sincere about coexisting peacefully with Taiwan
and does not wish to see any further spread of what they refer to as
'Taiwanese separatism,' it must try to understand the anger
Taiwanese have held toward China for so long. Beijing must also
realize that Taiwan is a sovereign nation, equal to it in status,
and it must also show due respect and courtesy to President Ma
Ying-jeou as president of the ROC. ..."

I) "Beijing Must Change its Mindset"'

Tseng Chien-yuan, an Assistant Professor of Public Administration at
Chung Hua University, opined in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000] (11/3):

"... Given the international disadvantage it faces, if Taiwan fails
to make it clear to the world that the Republic of China (ROC) is a
sovereign and independent nation based on law when Chen visits
Taipei as China's official emissary, we will be basically giving in
to Beijing and saying that China has sovereign rights over Taiwan.
The Taiwan Strait would become a part of China's waters and the
international community will not be able to intervene in any
disputes that may occur in the Strait, which would place Taiwan in a
dangerous position. ...

"If China is really sincere about coexisting peacefully with Taiwan
and does not wish to see any further spread of what they refer to as
'Taiwanese separatism,' it must try to understand the anger
Taiwanese have held toward China for so long. Beijing must also
realize that Taiwan is a sovereign nation, equal to it in status,
and it must also show due respect and courtesy to President Ma
Ying-jeou as president of the ROC. ..."

YOUNG

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