Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations,
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 003224
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.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS,
PRESIDENT CHEN'S OVERTURE
1. U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations
"The Remarks about Coming to Help Defend Taiwan in 12
The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times" said in an
"Legislator Lee Wen-chung said a high-ranking U.S.
defense official has given him a guarantee that so long
as Taiwan buys defensive weapons [from the United
States], U.S. carrier battle groups will arrive in the
Taiwan Strait if Taiwan can resist an attack for at
least 12 days.
"The remark about coming to help defend Taiwan in 12
days sounds [like he is using too conservative a time-
frame]. The United States' Seventh Fleet has a carrier
battle group stationed at Japan's Yokosuka port, which
could rush to Taiwan's rescue in two days and nights.
Besides, there are B-52 heavy bombers stationed in
Guam, too, which could fly to the Taiwan Strait in a
few hours. What really matters is that the United
States' fundamental position is very clear: the Taiwan
Straits' status quo must be maintained.
"If Taiwan did not do anything but Beijing used force
against Taiwan, the United States, without a doubt,
would send its troops to help defend Taiwan. And it
would not take 12 days. The troops would definitely
arrive in 48 hours. It would be another story,
however, if Taiwan plays with fire. The United States
is a democratic country, and it requires U.S.
congressional support for issues like the dispatch of
troops to fight Beijing. If Taiwan plays with fire and
thereby triggers a war, the answer would be very
obvious as to whether U.S. congressmen would agree to
sacrifice the lives of American soldiers [for Taiwan].
"Surely Taiwan needs to purchase essential defensive
weapons to defend itself. But the purchase of
defensive weapons should not be made as a provocative
move, nor should it be used in exchange for an
2. President Chen's Overture
A) "China's Inflexibility Blocks Progress"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
". But what political dispute is left between the two
sides once Taiwan accepts `one China' and negotiates on
that basis? In view of [Beijing's Taiwan Affairs
Office Spokesman] Zhang's usual rhetoric, it is clear
that China isn't ready to deal with Taiwan in any
manner until Taiwan acknowledges that it is part of
China. This was, of course, not the first time that
Beijing has rejected goodwill gestures made by Taiwan.
Under the circumstances, one cannot help but wonder:
why should Taiwan bother to extend an olive branch to
B) "President Chen Needs to Review His Beijing Policy"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" editorialized (10/15):
". Chen's mainland policy could be divided into two
aspects: strategic and tactical. At the tactical
level, he often used cross-strait relations as a tool
to gain electoral advantage, manipulating various
methods contingent on the needs of different elections.
"At the strategic level, Chen's cross-strait policy
could be summarized into one of using legitimacy to
protect illegitimacy. Under this strategy, the
legitimate status of the ROC would be used as a cover
to promote an independence agenda. .
"But by this time President Chen must have realized he
cannot continue a pro-independence policy without
provoking a strong backlash from Beijing. He now may
have to examine carefully whether such a mighty
neighbor who has repeatedly threatened to smash any
moves by Taiwan to change its political status. ."