Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. Presidential Election,
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 003071
DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD -
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION,
TAIWAN'S ARMS PROCUREMENTS, KEYSER CASE
1. U.S. Presidential Election
A) "The United States Needs to Re-organize Its
Relations with [Its] Asian Allies"
Lai I-chung, International Affairs Director of the
Taiwan Think Tank, said in an op-ed in the centrist,
pro-status quo "China Times" (10/1):
"Judging by the strategic traits of the two U.S.
presidential candidates' staff specializing in Asia-
Pacific policy, this November's U.S. presidential
election can be basically viewed as a race between the
`Pan Asia' faction whose Asian strategic focus lies in
the `U.S.-Japan alliance,' and the `China Hand' faction
whose Asian policy centers on the `U.S.-China strategic
partnership.' The `Pan Asia' faction not only has
dominated the U.S. government's Asia policy for the
past four years, but its source can also be traced back
to the strategic views adopted by former Secretary of
State George Schultz of the Reagan administration. The
`China Hand' faction, however, refers to former U.S.
President Bill Clinton's senior staff members during
his second term of office. No matter who is elected
U.S. president [in November], he will face an Asian
strategic environment that has been fundamentally
changed. As a result, it has become a key issue as to
how to deal with the United States' relations with its
allies in Asia. .
"Some people might think that Washington will not have
to go through much hardship in dealing with its
relations with its Asian allies if it views `U.S.-China
relations' as the core of its Asian policy. Such an
argument is basically wrong. If Washington lacks a
stable relationship with its Asian allies, it will
diminish Beijing's needs regarding Washington, which
will, in turn, lose a powerful bargaining chip when
dealing with Beijing. Such a development, as a result,
will add more variables to Washington-Beijing ties.
Thus, for either the `Pan Asia' faction or the `China
Hand' faction, it is very important [for the United
States] to maintain strong and powerful alliances in
"The escalating nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula
has put the question of whether the current regime in
Pyongyang is sustainable under the spotlight. The
impact of Taiwan's democratic development versus
China's swelling nationalism and its military expansion
have also made it really difficult to maintain the
`status quo' across the Taiwan Strait. All these
indicate that the next U.S. president may be required
to face and deal with problems such as the unification
on the Korean Peninsula and conflicts across the Taiwan
Strait. Thus, re-identifying [the United States']
Asian alliances will be a top priority for the new U.S.
B) "Revelations [from the] U.S. Presidential Election:
Fair Competition Is the Bottom Line for Democratic
The conservative, pro-unification "United Daily News"
observed in an editorial (10/4):
". U.S. society is indeed experiencing an atmosphere of
confrontation because of the heated presidential
election; some people even believe that a dividing
crisis rarely seen over the past few decades is
happening in the United States. However, as was shown
in the debate by [U.S. President George W.] Bush and
his rival [Senator John] Kerry, the democratic rules of
the game that have been built up gradually since the
founding of the United States are still the bottom line
governing each presidential candidate. .
"A president who seeks to expand the hegemonic power
[of his nation over] the world is still bound by the
domestic system of his country, from accepting
criticism of the Congress in its investigative reports
to signing an agreement before the presidential debate.
All these indicate the check and balances of democracy
and the spirit of fair competition honored by a society
ruled by law. Watching the U.S. presidential race from
across the Pacific Ocean, [we hope] Taiwan . could also
reach a consensus on the rule of fair competition."
C) "Keeping Kerry's Asia Policy on Track Is Vital to
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" noted in an editorial (10/3):
". While Bush and Kerry did not mention anything about
the Taiwan Strait [in their first debate], the exchange
clearly showed that both men have placed East Asia high
on their list of priorities and take Asian issues very
seriously. That is another reason why will have to be
active and adamant in getting our positions
communicated to both sides as they continue to expand
on issues dealt with in the first debate over the
coming days and weeks.
"This task may not be as urgent for dealing with the
incumbent administration, since we already have strong
channels of communication with officials currently in
"But we will have to strengthen our efforts toward the
Kerry campaign, as thy are still in the early stages of
putting together a policy.
"Now that we have `established a beachhead' with
advisers to the would-be American president, we hope
that our diplomats will build on these efforts and take
our causes deep into the heart of the Kerry camp."
2. Taiwan's Arms Procurement
"China's Double Play Strategy toward Taiwan: Anti-Arms
Sales at the United States and Anti-Arms Procurement in
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" editorialized
". Beijing is coming to realize that the United States'
one-China policy is different from its own one-China
principle and that Washington will give almost
unreserved support to its commitment to Taiwan's
security. Beijing's understanding is that Washington's
cross-Strait policy will meet the `dream of the one
China empire;' namely, Washington is only interested in
maintaining peace [in the Taiwan Strait] and will not
`push for unification.' Based on such a policy, the
United States will naturally express serious concern
and respond to China's use of force against Taiwan, as
demonstrated by U.S. determination during cross-Strait
tension in 1996. To prevent the cross-Strait situation
from getting out of control, the United States'
emphasis on keeping a balance of military strength
across the Taiwan Strait and Taiwan's purchase of
weapons from the United States based on its needs to
defend itself against China's threats have become a
very important interaction that safeguards Taiwan's
"Getting to understand the significance of the U.S.
arms sales to Taiwan, Beijing has put its focus while
dealing with the United States over the past few years
on demanding that Washington stop arms sales to Taiwan.
. The United States of course would not do whatever
Beijing tells it to. But what is worth noticing is
that China has shifted its focus to Taiwan since it
discovered that it could not ask Washington to stop
arms sales to the island. Beijing's plan is evident:
even though the United States refuses to stop arms
sales to Taiwan, it could still reach the goal of
[retarding] Taiwan's defensive capabilities by urging
people in Taiwan to stop arms procurements from the
United States. Those who voice opposition to arms
procurements in Taiwan thus must realize their roles in
China's anti-arms sales strategy."
3. Keyser Case
"US-Taiwan ties need patching up"
Edward Chen, Director of the Graduate Institute of
American Studies at Tamkang University, said in an op-
ed in the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei
". There are four respects in which the Keyser affair
is likely to affect Taiwan. First, Keyser, who was in
line to be the next chairman of the American Institute
in Taiwan, will now certainly not be taking up that
"It is questionable whether another nominee will be as
favorable to Taiwan.
"Second, revelations of a `national security' leak will
make US officials less forthcoming and more secretive
in their regular meeting with Taiwanese officials and
academics at Taiwan's US representative office.
"Third, the official counterpart of Taiwan's National
Security Bureau (NSB) is the CIA but on the insistence
of high officials in the US government, the matter is
being handled by the State Department.
"As the case has affected regular diplomatic and
intelligence-gathering operations, it is possible that
there will be friction between the diplomatic and
national security units within Taiwan's representative
office in the US.
"Fourth, in the short term at least, the morale of
intelligence agents working with the US will take a
blow, and their freedom of action may also be more
"In the investigation of the Keyser case, Taiwan may be
able to minimize the damage to Taiwan-US relations and
trust if it faces the matter truthfully, cooperates
fully with the US, rewards and fairly punishes those
involved and - most of all - maintains clear lines of
diplomatic communication. .
"The Keyser case is different from conventional cases
of diplomatic or intelligence personnel breaking the
rules. Strictly speaking, it is a political case. Its
significance depends on how it is considered.
"I believe the best way to resolve the Keyser case is
to discover its root cause.
"That is to say, we should look at the big picture, and
seek to reverse the decline in Taiwan-US relations of
the last few years.
"For example, in meeting the US demand that Taiwan not
alter the status quo, we must do what we say and not
try to play word games with the Americans. In the
context of US-China-Taiwan relations, we should
probably take a new tack, implementing policies that
benefit the US, but also meet our own interests.
"We must build on our commercial and technical
strength, seek security assurances from the US and at
the same time seek parity in our commercial dealings
with China. ."