Cablegate: Media Reaction: New Bush Administration And
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 003531
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: NEW BUSH ADMINISTRATION AND
A) "U.S. Taiwan Policy Goes Backwards to the Clinton
Journalist Sun Yang-ming wrote in the conservative, pro-
unification "United Daily News" (11/9):
"Although President George W. Bush is reelected, it is
not easy for U.S.-Taiwan relations to return to as
close as in the past. The not-disputed part of
Secretary of State Colin Powell's remarks on U.S. cross-
strait policy during his trip in East Asia, i.e.
denying Taiwan's sovereignty and promoting dialogue,
indicates a `push-back' to the relatively balanced
"During the Clinton administration the United States
began a relatively balanced policy after the Chinese
missile crisis before the 1996 Taiwan presidential
election. One the one hand, it tried to improve
Taiwan's military capabilities, including resuming
bilateral military cooperation after a 20-year
suspension and selling new arms to Taiwan. On the
other hand, the United States declared a `peaceful
unification' policy and asked the two sides across the
strait to start dialogue. This included forced Taipei
and Beijing dialogue as exemplified in the 1998 Koo-
Wang talks in Shanghai.
". When the Bush administration took over, it intended
to build a U.S.-led unilateral global power structure.
This had made the DPP-ruled Taiwan just right for a
position in the strategic plan to contain China.
".The Clinton framework became meaningless under the
circumstances. The U.S. Taiwan policy also lost its
balance and left the impression that the United States
supported Taiwan independence.
"But the global anti-terror efforts after the 9-11
incidents and the North Korean nuclear weapon issue
gave China an indispensable role as the United States
faces a new global strategic situation. .At the same
time Taipei was moving faster and faster toward
"If the policy implied in Powell's remarks concerning
Taiwan sovereignty and cross-strait dialogue can be
implemented, together with continued arms sales and
military cooperation, it is likely that the current
tension across the strait as well as between the United
States and China can be pushed back to the relatively
stable and eased condition in the past.
"However, this would be a return to the framework of
the Clinton administration, which had been strongly
criticized by the Republicans."
B) "Cross-strait Problems Have a Very Long History"
Associate Professor Hsieh Min-chieh of the Graduate
Institute of Political Science at National Chung Cheng
University commented in the pro-independence, English-
language "Taipei Times" (11/9):
"After U.S. President George W. Bush's successful re-
election, Taiwan-U.S. relations are likely to further
prosper in light of his friendly attitude in the past.
Washington will continue the unified and consistent
cross-strait policy within the basic framework of
`structural realism' adopted by 11 Republican and
Democratic presidents over more than half a century:
maintaining security in the Taiwan Strait while pushing
for a peaceful resolution to the cross-strait issue.
In the 1950s and 1960s, the United States had to deal
with an authoritarian Taiwanese government. It was able
to control the main direction through its control of a
few leaders. Besides, since the U.S. request of not
using force tallied with mankind's longing for peace,
Washington did not contradict its fundamental
principles. But since the 1990s, the United States is
facing a democratic Taiwan. Because of their democratic
development, the Taiwanese people's demand for the
right to decide their own future has constantly grown,
while the United States is trapped in a dilemma of
realism and idealism. After Taiwan successfully
realized the core value promoted by the United States
across the world, the United States is ironically
restricting Taiwan from upholding this value.
"Democracy endows people with the right to decide their
own future. However, in reality, the United States is
worried that once Taiwan really chooses to declare de
jure independence, there is risk of China taking
extreme action, which might implicate the United
States. Compared to the 1950s and 1960s, when
Washington requested that Taiwan control itself
militarily, the United States is now, after the 1990s,
requesting Taiwan to restrict itself politically in
order to achieve a peaceful resolution."
C) "Bush's Agenda on Taiwan"
The conservative/pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" said in an editorial (11/9):
"One Week before his re-election, President George W.
Bush sent his Secretary of State Colin Powell on a
whirlwind visit to Tokyo, Beijing, and Seoul.
"The Powell episode was obviously intended to alleviate
Beijing's anxiety about having to prepare for war when
Taipei rewrites its Constitution in 2006 and implements
it two years later. The Bush administration won't
allow that to happen.
"So, at least for the next four years, Beijing is
assured that Taiwan's separatists are under effective
"When Bush meets President Hu Jintao later this month
during the APEC conference in Chile, concerted efforts
to bring Taiwan back to the one-China fold will be
their priority agenda."