Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. Elections and U.S.
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 003488
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. ELECTIONS AND U.S.
POLICY, SECRETARY POWELL'S REMARKS IN BEIJING
1. U.S. Elections and U.S. Policy
A) "Bush Gets Re-elected with a Narrow Margin, But the
Price He Pays Is the United States' Unity and
The conservative, pro-unification "United Daily News"
commented in an editorial (11/4):
"Over the past four years, [U.S. President George W.]
Bush has lost the United States' glory and the world's
respect for [his country]. Domestically, it is even
more difficult to calculate what Bush has lost for his
country. The campaign strategy that Bush adopted this
time was to renounce the middle road that the United
States used to pursue. As a result, he has incited
voters that believe in different values to confront
each other and left the society no room for tolerance.
That is why some people described this U.S. election as
a `domestic war.' The Bush administration's use of a
drastic manipulative approach in an attempt to win the
majority of votes also means that he has given up the
hope to win the hearts of the other half of American
voters. Such an unorthodox approach shows that Bush
lacks the open-minded bearing and vision that a state
leader requires. Even though he succeeded by
manipulating the anti-terrorism issue and employing a
negative campaign strategy against his opponent, he
could hardly convince his rival and the rival's
"In fact, Bush's re-election may not necessarily
benefit Taiwan's political reality. Let's not forget
the strong-worded statements made by U.S. Secretary of
State Colin Powell during his trip to East Asia just a
few days before the general elections. Powell's
remarks, including his call for cross-Strait dialogue
and [the United States'] lack of support for Taiwan
independence, should be the new bottom line of the Bush
administration. It is really difficult to imagine that
Bush, if re-elected, will continue to insist on facing
the world with his `unilateralism.' If Bush has even
the slightest intention to heal the hurt, his cross-
Strait policy will not possibly continue to stay
severe. If so, then the `Powell framework' will then
likely become a blueprint for Bush to deal with the
cross-Strait situation in the future. ."
B) "A Divided United States Is Bush's Biggest Challenge
after He Is Re-elected"
The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times" observed in
an editorial (11/4):
". Over the past three years, the political division
and the confrontations in public views created by Bush
in the United States have been more serious than those
during the Vietnam War. This presidential campaign has
also further ignited the different sentiments of
`support for Bush' and `opposition to Bush.' .
"We want to say objectively that even though Bush has
won a majority of the votes, it is because [Senator
John] Kerry had the cardinal principles in mind and
took the overall situation and the unity of the United
States into account so that the election could end
smoothly. As a re-elected president, Bush must observe
and understand the expectations of [U.S.] society and
the international community, serving as a `unifier,'
and seeking to win the support of the other half of
American voters who did not vote for him during this
election. This is where his heavenly mandate and
C) "Bush's Re-election and Prospects for U.S.-Taiwan
Washington correspondent James Wang said in the
"Washington Reviews" column of the pro-independence
"Taiwan Daily" (11/4):
". We anticipate that the Bush administration will
continue putting emphasis on Taiwan's security issues.
Taiwan's strategic status weighs heavily in the Bush
administration's strategic perception, and the United
States will not overlook China's threats against
"We also anticipate that the Bush administration will
maintain an impartial attitude when urging Taiwan and
China to engage in a dialogue to alleviate cross-Strait
tensions, but it will not force Taiwan to compromise
and accept China's position. .
"The general position and wishes of the Taiwan people
are that we insist that Taiwan is an independent
sovereign state and we hope that the United States
could accommodate Taiwan's democratic evolvement and
recognize Taiwan as a sovereign nation. The United
States, as a model for democracy, should clearly
understand [the Taiwan people's position].
D) "Bush's Re-election Is the General Trend"
Washington correspondent Norman Fu said in the
"Washington Outlook" column of the centrist, pro-status
quo "China Times" (11/4):
"In general, Bush's re-election might not necessarily
be favorable for the entire world situation. Bin
Laden's terrorism and chaos in Iraq will continue and
will grow more severe. Chances are smaller that the
United States and EU nations will reconcile. The
conservative powers inside the United States will
become consolidated all the more and confrontations
between the Republicans and Democrats will grow
stronger. Bush's `unilateralist' superpower diplomacy
will likely move toward the direction in that `those
who submit will thrive and those who resist shall meet
ruin.' For Taiwan, which needs the United States' help
for almost everything, how can it dare to offend the
United States by doing whatever it wants?"
E) "US, Taiwan Are Democratic Partners"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
". As an ally of the US., Taiwan is surely interested
in the re-election of Bush. We are not concerned about
the possibility of the Bush administration shifting its
Taiwan policy. After all, the US is already a mature
democracy. Taiwan-US relations have steadily developed
on the basis on a long-term friendship. Although there
were some ups and downs in the past, Taiwan-US
relations are unlikely to alter unless a drastic change
takes place across the Taiwan Strait.
"We are concerned about the election because Taiwan-US
relations are complex. We hope that post-election
legal squabbling will not damage the image of US
democracy. An incident-free outcome will help Taiwan
and the US continue to boost their bilateral exchanges.
Taipei needs to get on with talking to Washington about
the proposed arms procurement plan, as well as our
efforts to enter the World Health Organization and
other international bodies. ."
F) "U.S. Needs Reform, Lien Chan Must Go"
The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News"
said in an editorial (11/4):
". Four more years of George W. Bush are likely to be
four more years of a festering morass in Iraq,
explosive tensions in the Middle East and a `head in
the sand' (or rather, prayer book) attitude to efforts
by the world community to resolve critical global ills
through multilateral efforts from the Kyoto Protocol on
global warming to the International Criminal Court.
"Global cooperation may well be affected by the clash
between a highly conservative Republican regime in the
U.S. with the surfacing trend for `center-left'
governments in Europe, Latin American [sic] and much of
"The continuation of a Republican administration may
also not be as positive for Taiwan as some pundits seem
"The continuity of leadership in the U.S. and Taiwan
along with the consolidation of the power of People's
Republic of China State Chairman Hu Jintao may boost
prospects for dialogue as Washington is likely to take
a proactive role in brokering such talks at the same
time as supplying Taiwan with defensive weaponry.
"But the flip side will include pressure on Taiwan's
Democratic Progressive Party government and the
Taiwanese people to refrain from any action that might
`provoke' Beijing, including affirming our sovereignty
or revamping our Constitution.
"Demands for more assistance in campaigns against
`terrorism' and the Iraqi quagmire are also likely to
be voiced by Washington in step with the declining
degree of tolerance by other members of the world
community for the Bushian `crusades.'
"Gaps in priorities are likely to emerge between the
U.S. `faith-based' government and the DPP government,
which is trying to traverse a `Taiwan road' of
democracy, human rights, and sustainability. ."
G) "The U.S. Won't Tolerate Taiwan Independence"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" noted in an editorial (11/4):
". It is true that the Republicans are traditionally
more supportive of Taiwan. But this hardly justifies
the conclusion that, when the U.S. president is a
member of the Grand Old Party, Taiwan will be safer
from a mainland Chinese attack.
"Recently U.S. Secret [sic] of State Colin Powell,
during a visit to Asia, said Taiwan does not enjoy
sovereignty as a nation, and stated that
`reunification' with mainland China must be achieved by
peaceful means. The remarks have dealt the Taiwan
independence movement a crushing blow. Those who
pursue Taiwan independence must not have the
misconception that Taiwan can always count on America
to come to its aid in the face of an attack from
mainland China. Should the Taipei government go too
far in its attempt to make the island an independent
state, the U.S. will certainly intervene, whoever its
2. Secretary Powell's Remarks in Beijing
Hsu Yung-ming, assistant research fellow at the
Academia Sinica, said in the pro-independence, English-
language "Taipei Times" (11/4):
". Powell's words have completely changed the myth
about Taiwan's democratic development. We finally
understand that enjoying democracy does not equal
enjoying sovereignty as a nation, and supporting Taiwan
to boost democracy is not supporting the Taiwanese
people to become their own masters. Thus, the way
Washington treats Taipei is no better than the way
Beijing treats Hong Kong. .
"The Taiwanese people think that they are becoming
their own masters when striving for democracy. But
from a US perspective, it is just an improvement of
human welfare. The Taiwanese people think that they
are deepening democracy and resolving a political
deadlock through the push for referendums. But from a
US perspective, it is a push for Taiwan independence.
Obviously, under this US patriarchy, Washington's views
Taipei as a democratic offspring that needs its special
care. But the former also locks the latter in a
birdcage, so that it will not fly away and cause
"Viewed from this perspective, perhaps it is better for
Taiwan and China to resume their talks. At least,
Taiwan will have a chance to speak for itself without
US pressure. It must take the initiative, rather than
depending on the US forever. The Democratic
Progressive Party government should make the public
aware of the gap between Taiwan's democracy and
sovereignty, and both the blue and green camps should
clarify their stances on the issue. Apart from the
Taiwanese people's pro-unification and pro-independence
sentiments, the key lies in the fact that there is no
longer a gray area. Taiwan cannot now enjoy both
democracy and sovereignty - just democracy without