Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-Taiwan Relations
UNCLAS TAIPEI 003322
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.-TAIWAN RELATIONS
"The Need for Trust and Better Communication"
Former chairman of the American Institute in Taiwan Nat
Bellocchi wrote in the pro-independence "Taipei Times"
"The Double Ten National Day speech by President Chen
Shui-bian lifted some of the tension that still exists
in the U.S.-Taiwan relationship, but events connected
with the recent full-page advertisement by Koo Kwang-
ming in two leading American newspapers, and a
symposium on Taiwan's Constitution and U.S.-Taiwan
relations, show that some bilateral tension and
mistrust remains -- based more on evasion of reality
than any misunderstanding. It is not good at a time
when the United States must work closer than ever with
Taiwan through understanding and dialogue. .
"There is much to ponder in the broader tripartite
relationship. One immediate task will be to determine
what can or should be done once elections are completed
and policy review begins. The United States will need
policies that take into account the mainstream opinion
while maintaining good relations with China.
"If one looks at what lies ahead for Taiwan -- a new
constitution, a referendum and perhaps dialogue with
China -- the United States may find it necessary to
become quite intrusive in Taiwan's domestic affairs.
That's dicey in any event, and in any country. Foreign
intrusion in domestic matters is never welcome.
"The United States will have to work with that reality.
The core need is close, effective and broader
communication with one another. In Taiwan, there are
frequent symposiums that invite American and other
scholars to take part. The Unite States does this as
well, but when it comes to Taiwan, it seldom if ever
includes people who do not agree with U.S. policy. This
is unfortunate, as understanding is the base for better
communication between governments.
"One possibility in pursuing better government
communication is for the United States to establish a
cross-strait task force made up of deputy assistant
secretaries -- or people of equivalent rank -- from the
State Department, the Defense Department, the National
Security Council and perhaps others. This group would
be tasked with producing a regular report to the
president. The report could be drawn from a regular
quarterly meeting of the group and their Taiwanese
counterparts, and would include recommendations on any
matter that should be addressed.
"The Taiwanese side would be expected to start a
similar process to ensure the president is well
informed. There is a need for presidential aides on
both sides to be kept well informed about this
"Unfortunately, raising the frequency and level of
communication tends to be seen in Taipei first and
foremost in terms of high-profile visits or publicly
announced bilateral meetings which strain the United
States' relationship with China. The biggest obstacle
to more regular, higher-level liaisons between the
United States and Taiwan in national security matters,
of course, is objections from China. Yet there have
been similar, if less structured, liaisons in the past
that were manageable. It does require trust, however,
and broadening the number of people involved in this
liaison strengthens government support on both sides.
"There are doubtless many other possibilities for
enhancing communication. The United States has endorsed
Chen's Oct. 10 speech, and one hopes that it could
eventually result in a dialogue between Taiwan and
China. Even so, it is unlikely to remove the U.S.' need
for a continuing and perhaps even closer relationship