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Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. Election; Taiwan Arms

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 003259

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD -
ROBERT PALLADINO
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S. ELECTION; TAIWAN ARMS
PROCUREMENT


A) "Will Bush Change His Diplomatic Policies If Re-
elected?"

The "International Watch" column of the pro-status quo
"China Times" said (10/19):

"Almost all the countries of the whole world, except
Israel, are not satisfied with the Bush
administration's foreign policies and practices. Then,
if Bush gets re-elected, will he change his foreign
policies?

"There are two entirely different viewpoints. Some
believe he will readjust his policies in accordance
with developments in the global situation. Others
think, since U.S. voters do not oppose the policies,
why does Bush need to change them?

"Judging from Bush's actions during the presidential
campaign, there seem to be no signs of change. He does
not regret using military force in all places and still
plans to promote "U.S.-style freedom and democracy"
with military force as one option. He does not show
any concessions to those countries that oppose U.S.
attacks in Iraq. There are, however, other messages
that should not be ignored. One foreign policy advisor
to Bush's father, . Brent Scowcroft, recently suggested
to [George W. Bush] that he should follow friendlier
and more cooperative policies in his second term."

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B) "Some Thoughts on the U.S. Election"

Commentator Paul Lin noted in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" (10/19):

". Both China and Taiwan are paying close attention to
the U.S. presidential election. Although the Chinese
government outwardly remains neutral, public opinion is
clearly on Kerry's side because his cross-strait policy
does not mention the Taiwan Relations Act that so
displeases China, and because once, in a slip of the
tongue, he supported a solution of the Taiwan issue
within China's `one country, two systems' framework.
China therefore has better expectations of Kerry.

"Two months ago, there was some information saying that
Chinese President Hu Jintao would visit the U.S. this
month. After the information was leaked, it then
appeared that U.S. National Security Advisor
Condoleezza Rice was paving the way for such a visit
when she visited Beijing. If Hu does visit the U.S.
this month, it will be interpreted as support for Bush.
Maybe because Beijing is asking too high a price for
such a visit, it now seems it will not take place.
Instead, the 80/20 Committee, which enjoys a good
relationship with Beijing, is urging ethnic Chinese to
vote for the Democratic candidate

"Although Taiwan remains neutral, there must be
questions concerning Kerry's remarks. Presidential
advisor Koo Kuan-min's recent ads in the New York Times
and the Washington Post requesting that the U.S. review
its `one China' policy were quickly rejected by the
U.S. government in a clear attempt to avoid having
external factors affect the presidential election
campaign. The `one China' policy issue, however, is not
only an issue when deciding whom to vote for -- it is
also an issue that the next U.S. president should
resolve."

C) "Arms Deal Does Not Equal Security"

C.V. Chen, a senior partner at the law firm Lee and Li,
commented in the pro-independence, English-language
"Taipei Times" (10/19):

"U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Richard
Lawless has said that if Taiwan's legislature does not
pass the arms procurement plan, it will only prove that
Taiwanese democracy has not yet reached a level where
national security concerns override party politics, and
that Taiwan would be seen as a liability, not a
partner, by its friends in the international community.

"I can sympathize with Lawless' defense of U.S. and
Taiwanese interests, but as the bill will be picked up
by the Taiwanese taxpayer, we need to further consider
his comments.

". [W]ill the U.S. and `other countries' doubt Taiwan's
defense promises? I am curious to know what countries,
apart from the U.S., are concerned about Taiwan's
security. Lawless' statement instead highlights the
fact that a joint defense treaty no longer exists
between Taiwan and the U.S., and that the US according
to international law has no obligation to defend
Taiwan.

".[D]oes opposition to the arms procurement plan mean
telling Beijing that its threats are effective? On the
contrary, I feel that defending the NT$600 billion arms
procurement plan out of fear is tantamount to telling
Beijing that threats are effective indeed. If China
spends one dollar to build missiles, Taiwan has to
spend four dollars to buy anti-missile equipment. Is
there any more efficient threat than that? And Lawless'
statement is also intended as a threat, using Beijing
to pressure Taiwan into buying U.S. arms.
If the people of Taiwan are not brave enough to say no
to unreasonable behavior, then such threats will only
increase.

". Finally, the question of whether or not the NT$600
billion arms procurement plan will be carried out will
be symbolic of domestic democratic development and an
opportunity to transcend the differences between the
proponents of independence and unification, and members
of the blue and green camps. It is crucial to whether
the Taiwanese people will be able to leave behind the
ideologies that have hijacked our politicians. Let us
work together and say no to the double threat from
Beijing and the U.S."

PAAL

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