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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Cross-Strait Relations, U.S. Presidential

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1578/01 3120821
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 070821Z NOV 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0306
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8717
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0164

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001578

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, U.S. PRESIDENTIAL
ELECTION

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused news
coverage November 7 on the violent clashes between pro-Green
supporters and police on Thursday night; on the short meeting
between President Ma Ying-jeou and China's Association for Relations
across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman Chen Yulin on Thursday;
and on the continued investigation into former President Chen
Shui-bian and his family's corruption and money laundering cases.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, an editorial in the
pro-independence "Liberty Times" warned President Ma that public
opinion and public anger regarding his cross-Strait policy must be
valued; otherwise, Ma will be loathed by the Taiwan people. An
editorial in the mass-circulation "Apple Daily" gave credit to the
Taiwan visit of ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin. The editorial said,
however, that both Beijing and Taipei should realize that political
issues cannot be touched hastily, because apparently the timing is
not ripe, judging from the series of protests in Taiwan against
Chen's visit. Editorials in both the pro-unification "United Daily
News" and the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" urged the Chinese
Communist Party and the DDP to face the reality of the existence of
the Republic of China. Also in the "China Times," a news analysis
said it was a pity that the way that the historic meeting between
President and ARATS Chairman Chen Yunlin was handled failed fully to
present China and Taiwan's cross-Strait policies. Regarding the
election of Barack Obama as the President of the United States, an
op-ed in the "China Times" commented on how Barack Obama, a
potential protectionist, is going to deal with daunting economic
challenges, and the possible implications for Taiwan. An editorial
in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" drew a
parallel between Barack Obama and Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou.
The editorial reminded Obama to be careful not to disappoint
Americans in the way that Ma allegedly has. End summary.

3. Cross-Strait Relations

A) "President Ma Will Be Loathed by the People If Not Bow to the
Public Opinion"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation: 720,000]
editorialized (11/7):

"... Today, the anger of Taiwan people was vented like volcanoes
erupting. The release of anger was a result of President Ma
[Ying-jeou]'s betrayal of Taiwan. Ma's moves to impose martial law
internally and surrender to China not only 'hurt Taiwan's image,
hurt Taiwan people's lives,' but also caused an unprecedented crisis
in Taiwan's sovereignty. With his popularity on the decline, Ma
will be loathed by the [Taiwan] people if he does not bow to public
opinion which has been gathering like a storm!"

B) "Ma and Chen Cannot Thaw Out the Three-Meter Deep Ice"

The mass-circulation "Apple Daily" [circulation: 520,000]
editorialized (11/7):

"Although there have been violent protests, [China's Association for
Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS) Chairman] Chen Yunlin's
visit to Taiwan was still a success.

"From the perspective of historical significance, this cross-Strait
negotiation [between Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and
ARATS in Taipei] was the one that achieved the most concrete
results. [This negotiation] made remarkable contributions to
cross-Strait exchanges, trade and economics, and social psychology.
[This negotiation] also built a regular, working-level platform for
persistent mutual interaction in the future. At the same time, both
sides of the Taiwan Strait should realize from the violent protests
[in Taipei] that the timing for discussing political issues is far
from ripe. [The discussion of political issues] should not be held
hastily. Haste brings no success. ..."

C) "The Crux of Taiwan Issue: Both the DPP and CCP Deny the
Existence of the Republic of China"

The pro-unification "United Daily News" [circulation: 400,000]
editorialized (11/7):

"... The concluding impressions of the November 5 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 are: first, the realization of the
three links. [The trend of] exchange across the Taiwan Strait is
irreversible. Second, the predicament in which the Ma [Ying-jeou
Administration] was under converging attacks from both Beijing and
the DPP is obvious to all. Third, credit should be given to Beijing
for Beijing's show of bearing regarding the incidents of Zhang
Mingqing [who was accosted in Tainan at the end of October] and the
Grand Formosa Regent Taipei [where Chen Yunlin was besieged on the

ELECTION

night of November 5]. Fourth, in the last five days, the DPP
regressed and become a Taiwan-independence party that protects
corruption and shows its violence.

"Chen Yunlin's five-day visit [to Taiwan] furthermore demonstrated a
point of view that we have been constantly argued: the crux of the
Taiwan issue lies in the reality that both the Chinese Communist
Party and the DPP deny the existence of the Republic of China. ..."

D) "It Is Time for Beijing to Face up to the 'Republic of China'"

The centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 220,000]
editorialized (11/7):

"... After the second 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 has
been held, shouldn't the Beijing authorities really think seriously
whether it is time to 'face up' to the existence of the Republic of
China? The Beijing authorities should understand clearly that,
regardless of the half-century historic struggle between the KMT and
the CCP, the Republic of China never vanished from the planet. No
matter how [the Republic of China] was shut out in the United
Nations or driven out of or humiliated on various sorts of
international occasions; how the number of countries [with which it
had] diplomatic ties was diminished; or how the national flag and
the national anthem of the Republic of China have disappeared in
international competitions; in the end it is undeniable that the
Constitution and the sovereignty of the Republic of China still
function well in Taiwan. Under the Constitution, [the Republic of
China] has held four presidential elections and experienced two
transitions of government. Facing a popularly elected president [Ma
Ying-jeou] who has the endorsement of over seven million voters,
Beijing is still too stingy to speak the title [of president].
Apparently [Beijing] so far does not want to recognize such a
reality. ..."

E) "Ending the Meeting in a Sloppy Way and Missing a New Opportunity
across the Taiwan Strait"

Reporter Wang Ming-I wrote a news analysis in the centrist,
KMT-leaning "China Times" [circulation: 220,000] (11/7):

"... The meeting between President Ma Ying-jeou and [China's
Association for Relations across the Taiwan Strait (ARATS)] Chairman
Chen Yunlin was a great event in cross-Strait exchange in the last
six decades, whether from the perspective of realistic politics or
historical progress. Regrettably, under the pressure of the DPP
calling for protests, Taiwan's Straits Exchange Foundation (SEF) and
China's ARATS chose the most low-profile style to present the
'meeting between Ma and Chen,' and therefore missed an opportunity
to allow cross-Strait policies to be fully addressed. ..."

4. U.S. Presidential Election

A) "Obama Changes the Prospects for the World Economy"

Bert J. Lim, President of the World Economics Society, a
Taiwan-based think tank, opined in the centrist, KMT-leaning "China
Times" [circulation: 220,000] (11/7):

"... Amid [President-elect of the United States] Barack Obama's
foreign policies, especially in terms of trade and investment
policy, regional cooperation and energy policy, the most disturbing
policy is the advocacy of the new protectionism, 'the closing of the
country's economy.' Although [Obama] said orally that he supports
the free trade, [Obama] has, however, actually started 'to review
and re-open negotiations' regarding the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA). [Obama] even clearly opposed, or even is likely
to suspend or terminate, the Free Trade Agreements (FTA) that the
United States signed with South Korea and Colombia. Under such
circumstances, it is very difficult for Taiwan to expect to [sign]
an FTA between Taiwan and the United States. ..."

B) "US Election Echoes in Taiwan"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
20,000] editorialized (11/7):

"Whether one likes it or not, the paths of Taiwan and the US seem to
be tightly entwined.

"This was proved again on Tuesday, when just eight months after
voters here decided to put an end to eight years of rule by a man
and his party, the US electorate followed suit, choosing an
opposition party figure to replace a president who has been berated
and lampooned in equal measure.
ELECTION

"US president-elect Barack Obama's victory on Tuesday was an
epoch-defining moment. Not only will he become the first black
president in the history of the US, but his victory brings the
curtain down on one of the most controversial and divisive
presidencies of all time. Many Americans are hoping that, come
January, their new president can quickly rebuild bridges and repair
their country's tarnished global image. They also hope he can
re-establish what many call the US' 'moral authority,' something
badly eroded by two terms under President George W. Bush.

"This is similar in some respects to President Ma Ying-jeou's
victory in March, as he was the first non-Taiwanese to be elected
president, and on promises that he would turn Taiwan into a
cross-strait 'peacemaker,' not a 'troublemaker. ...

"It is in the world's interest that Obama is up to the huge task
that has been placed on his shoulders, because the alternative is
deepening uncertainty and instability - feelings that most Taiwanese
are burdened with just six months into Ma's term."

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