Cablegate: Media Reaction: Secretary Powell's Visit To
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 003354
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: SECRETARY POWELL'S VISIT TO
CHINA AND U.S. POLICY
A) "The United States Has Decided Not to Play the
Marginal Game of Taiwan Independence Along with
The conservative, pro-unification "United Daily News"
said in its editorial (10/27):
"As the U.S. presidential election campaign entered its
last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell disclosed in
Beijing a new framework for U.S.-China policy. There
are new elements in this framework. Some people in
Washington believe it `has changed U.S. policy.'
"From the perspective of the campaign, Powell appears
to be telling American voters that the U.S. government
will not get itself involved in any cross-Strait
confrontations. From the perspective of policy, this
indicates that the Bush administration is making an
overall revision of its `unilaterialism,' including its
". In Powell's new framework, the U.S. `one-China'
policy remains unchanged. His mentioning of `seeking
peaceful reunification' also increased China's
political profit. Therefore, the main pressure is on
Taiwan. The United States believes the head of
Taiwan's government is seeking Taiwan independence.
But this is not in the interest of the United States
and China. In other words, neither of them needs to
make any changes under the new framework. The one that
must change is the Taiwan authority. ."
B) "Facilitating a Dialogue or Facilitating
An unsigned commentary in the pro-status quo "China
Times" said (10/27):
"Why has the United States changed its position from
Bush's remarks of `sparing no effort to defend Taiwan'
and the principle that `Taiwan's future should be
decided with the consent of its people' into Powell's
saying `Taiwan is not a sovereign state and the two
sides across the Strait should move toward peaceful
"To speak frankly, Bush is not to blame. Imagine you
are Bush. Just as you have been supporting Taiwan to
the point of nearly clashing with China, Chen Shui-bian
does not even inform you of his intention to hold
referendum to help his re-election. When you send a
secret envoy to Taiwan to mediate, he returns empty-
handed. Under these circumstances, could you continue
C) "The Words Are Ear-piercing; Taiwan Cannot Be
Unalarmed; Powell's Remarks Indicate That There Is Less
U.S. Ambiguity Toward Taiwan Independence; No Matter
Whether U.S. Policy Has Changed, the Feeling of
Interactions Have Been Different; Taipei Should Be More
Washington Correspondent Nadia Tsao of the pro-
independence "Liberty Times" noted (10/27):
"Another issue which is worth noticing is that the
atmosphere seems to be different between Taiwan and the
Bush administration. Although the policy remains
unchanged; the communication channels are still there;
and the United States cannot `sell' Taiwan because of
the North Korean issue, etc, some officials, including
Powell, seem to believe that Taiwan has deliberately
misunderstood U.S. policy or ignored U.S. thinking.
This has increased U.S. difficulty in `managing' its
"In the interviews, Powell openly praised China's
diplomatic endeavors as maturing while having warned
Taiwan many times [that it needed to act more
maturely]. Even if Powell may not stay [in his
position], whether this kind of thinking will become
mainstream in the new Bush administration is something
Taiwan can not overlook."
D) "Taiwan's Independence is an Objective Fact; It Will
Not Disappear Because of Negligence by Others; Lame-
Duck Secretary of State Powell's Remarks in Beijing
Disgraced the Taiwan People and Himself As Well"
The pro-independence, "Taiwan Daily" editorialized
". Everybody knows that Powell is almost certain to
leave his position as Secretary of State even if Bush
wins re-election. On all major international issues,
Powell's viewpoints differ greatly from those of Vice
President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld..
During the most heated time of the [election] campaign,
when there seems to be no one in control in the White
House, a lame-duck secretary of state went to China for
his commencement trip. He said in press interviews
several sentences that no one could tell there is
anything new except those who know the subtle
relationship between the United States, China, and
Taiwan very well. The issue how should one interpret
his remarks will certainly keep U.S., Chinese and
Taiwan experts busy for some time. ."
E) "Democracy, Yes; Sovereignty, No"
A commentary by Academia Sinica research fellow Hsu
Yung-ming in the pro-status quo "China Times" said
". This frank statement [by Powell] seems to have
broken the myth that many of us have had regarding
Taiwan's democratic development: democracy does not
mean sovereignty. Supporting Taiwan's democratization
does not equal supporting the Taiwan people regarding
being their own master. The U.S. treatment of Taiwan's
position is not much better than Beijing's treatment of
Hong Kong. At least Tung Chee Wah can go to Beijing.
Can Chen Shui-bian go to Washington?
"The DPP government should let the public know about
the difference between being democratic and enjoying
sovereignty. The Blue and the Green camps should
express their positions toward this disconnect. . The
main point is whether we want both democracy and
sovereignty or can we tolerate democracy without
sovereignty. There is no room for ambiguity any
F) "Poor Word Choice or a Policy Shift?"
The pro-independence, English language, "Taipei Times"
commented in an editorial (10/27):
"U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Monday
that Taiwan is not a sovereign and independent country.
The question is: Is Powell really clear on what he is
talking about? If the status of Taiwan really is what
Powell claims it to be, then his statement could be
interpreted as meaning either that sovereignty over
Taiwan remains undetermined, as stated in the 1952 San
Francisco Peace Treaty, or that Taiwan comes under the
sovereignty of China.
"The question of whether this China is the Republic of
China (ROC) or the People's Republic of China (PRC)
will surely lead to further dispute. To those
interpreting Powell's statement as meaning that Taiwan
belongs to the PRC, we can only say that this goes
further than any of the communiqus signed by
Washington and Beijing, and it is not consistent with
the U.S.' position.
". When U.S. officials speak on the international stage
about Taiwan's lack of national sovereignty, they
clearly demonstrate how perilous Taiwan's situation is
today -- even its closest friend finds itself unable to
lend public support.
"Only if Taiwanese show determination and are willing
to defend themselves at any cost will they be able to
avoid being swallowed up by China by one means or
another. Beijing's most devious ploy is to get
Taiwanese to take national defense lightly.
"If Taiwan loses its military ability to oppose China's
threats, what reason would Beijing have to sit down at
the negotiating table to engage in substantive and
meaningful talks with Taiwan? China would be able to
threaten Taiwan militarily at any time -- and continue
to do so until this nation surrenders. If this is a
situation that the pan-blue camp finds intolerable,
then they have no reason to oppose the arms-procurement
budget that has turned the Legislative Yuan into a
"Taiwan meets all the conditions for being a modern
democratic nation, so Powell's comments about Taiwan
not having sovereignty are a slap in the face. Unless
the people of Taiwan are willing to face the same fate
as the residents of Hong Kong and Macao, then there is
only one thing they can do. They must convince the
legislators they elected to represent them that Taiwan
must equip itself with advanced weapons. The government
must accelerate the development of a society sharing a
strong sense of common identity. The people and the
government must show their determined resistance to
communist rule. This is a road that Taiwan has no
choice but to follow."