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Cablegate: Media Reaction: North Korea, the Financial Crisis,

VZCZCXYZ0003
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHIN #1719/01 3470716
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 120716Z DEC 08
FM AIT TAIPEI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0546
INFO RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 8792
RUEHHK/AMCONSUL HONG KONG 0250

UNCLAS AIT TAIPEI 001719

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: NORTH KOREA, THE FINANCIAL CRISIS,
U.S.-TAIWAN RELATIONS

1. Summary: Taiwan's major Chinese-language dailies focused
December 12 news coverage on the Central Bank's biggest interest
cuts in 26 years; the probe into former President Chen Shui-bian's
corruption cases; and the police's surprise eviction of members of
the "Wild Strawberry" Student Movement from a public square.

2. In terms of editorials and commentaries, a column in the
centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times" said North Korea is running out
of cards to play after the change of governments in both South Korea
and the United States, along with the deterioration of Kim Jong-il's
health. Another column in the "China Times" said it seems that
China's hybrid half-planned/half-free market economy works better
than Western society's free market economy. "After the decline of
capitalism," the column questioned whether a neo-capitalism can be
formed, should Western society choose not to follow China's economic
path. An editorial in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taipei Times" revealed how poor the presentation was of a
delegation led by KMT Legislator Hsieh Kuo-liang to Washington. The
delegation sought to defend the Ma Ying-jeou Administration's human
rights record. The editorial said the delegation's terrible
performance is a public relations disaster to the Ma Ying-jeou
Administration. End summary.

3. North Korea

"North Korea's Big Show of 'Communicating with the United States and
Ceasing Communication with South Korea'"

Tsai Zheng-jia, a research fellow of the Institute of International
Relations at the National Chengchi University, wrote in the
"International Column" in the centrist, KMT-leaning "China Times"
[circulation: 220,000] (12/12):

"... After taking office, the Obama administration will change the
U.S.'s previous role as world policeman and put the focus of its
governance on reviving the domestic economy and withdrawing troops
from Iraq. It [the Obama Administration] apparently does not have
much interest in the North Korean issue. North Korea's wish to take
advantage of the United States to seek more economic aid might end
up with nothing. ...

"Since 2002, during the period when South Korea and the United
States have been coordinating, North Korea's nuclear issue has
persisted. However, after the change of governments in South Korea
and the United States, and with Kim Jong-il's health in decline,
thus absenting the best actor [Kim], it is becoming ever more
difficult for North Korea to maintain this performance."

4. The Financial Crisis

"Can a Neo-Capitalism Be Formed?"

The column of "International Outlook" in the centrist, KMT-leaning
"China Times" [circulation: 220,000] wrote (12/12):

"... What makes the West least comfortable is that, if the Chinese
style of economy is the key to success, will many countries in the
world, especially developing countries, follow China's example? If
it is true, doesn't it mean that the West's values of democracy and
freedom are bankrupt? ...

"Therefore, Western scholars started researching what path should be
followed after the decline of capitalism. China's mode should not
be followed and [the Chinese mode is] not feasible. Then, there is
only one road, which is to research 'neo-capitalism.' Of course
[researching neo-capitalism] is a very complicated and difficult
task. Establishing it takes time as well. However, there is an
unbreakable principle, in which borrowing money for a spending spree
is not allowed anymore. Such an American style of capitalism must
be rectified. Although the free flow of capital, commodities, and
labor should be allowed without restriction, highly efficient
methods which monitor the risks are required. However, the United
States government so far still does not agree with such an idea."

5. U.S.-Taiwan Relations

"Three Musketeers or Three Stooges?"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation:
30,000] editorialized (12/12):

"The three-man team of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator
and chair of the legislature's Judiciary, Organic Laws and Statutes
Committee Hsieh Kuo-liang, National Police Agency Senior Executive
Officer John Chu and Ministry of Justice Counselor Chin Jeng-shyang
arrived in Washington on Monday with a mission: Visit the center of
US power to rebut recent allegations of a backslide in human rights,
an increase in police brutality and political persecution by the
U.S.-TAIWAN RELATIONS

judiciary that have tarnished the reputation of the administration
of President Ma Ying-jeou.

"But if the performance at their first port of call, the
conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, was the yardstick with
which to judge the success of the venture, then the group may have
been better off staying home. ...

"Hsieh's repeated claims that it was the Democratic Progressive
Party that blocked the KMT's attempts at legal reform for the last
eight years would not have convinced this audience. Attendees
included people with decades of experience in and knowledge of
Taiwanese affairs such as former American Institute in Taiwan chairs
Nat Bellocchi and Therese Shaheen and the Heritage Foundation's John
Tkacik, individuals who are fully aware of which party has held a
legislative majority during that time. ...

"In summary, their arguments were weak, their facts and figures were
inaccurate and their presentation was downright awful. As it
stands, the video of the session could stand as a tutorial for
future delegations of what not to do.

"If the Ma administration was worried about opinion in Washington
before the trip, this public relations disaster should have them
even more concerned."

YOUNG

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