Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-China-Taiwan Relations

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




E.O. 12958: N/A

A) "Change in the Nature of the Triangular
Relationship between Washington, Beijing and Taipei"

Journalist Wang Ming-yi said in the "My Views" column
of the centrist, pro-status quo "China Times":

". The Chen Shui-bian administration's national
security team has evidently sensed that `cross-Strait
stability and maintenance of the peaceful status quo in
the Taiwan Strait have always been issues of common
concern for the international community, ones in which
the United States plays an essential role.' This is
[the team's] reflection and review of the mutual trust
crisis between the United States and Taiwan. But the
question is: [U.S. President George W.] Bush's
criticism of Taiwan leaders and [Secretary of State
Colin] Powell's disregard of Taiwan's sovereign status
did not come about simply because the Taiwan
authorities have become `unpredictable friends' of
Washington. Instead, they are the result of a
fundamental change in Washington's thinking in dealing
with the Taiwan issue.

"Neither side of the Taiwan Strait can possibly deny
that the United States' national interests are the real
variables that affect the cross-Strait situation.
Lately, Washington has been playing a more proactive
role in setting foot in cross-Strait issues. It does
not want to be a mere `facilitator'; instead, it wants
to be an `arbitrator.' Washington does not support
Taiwan independence and is opposed to China's use of
force against Taiwan. The status quo of `peaceful
confrontation' across the Taiwan Strait is, reasonably
speaking, in the best interests of Washington. .

"Sources said prior to Powell's visit to Beijing in
late October, relevant think tanks in Washington had a
closed-door meeting with State Department officials.
In the meeting, a heavy-weight `pro-China' think tank
person suggested that since the political situation in
Taiwan headed by President Chen is full of
`unpredictability,' Washington should seriously
consider how to work with Beijing to `jointly handle'
the Taiwan issue in an attempt to effectively control
or prevent any `Taiwan variables' that might seriously
endanger future Washington-Beijing ties. When both
[Taiwan's] friend and its rival have started to adopt a
wait-and-see and cautious attitude toward the Taiwan
authorities, it will be the biggest crisis for Taiwan's
existence and development."

B) "Why U.S., Japan Must Defend Taiwan"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News"
editorialized (11/11):

". Taiwan's strategic position is extremely important
to both the United States and Japan. Therefore, if
China is able to take over Taiwan, Beijing will secure
a virtual stranglehold over the Taiwan Strait and thus
influence the security of Japan's crucial marine
communication lines with Southeast Asia and the Middle

"Therefore, it is strategically necessary for both
Washington and Tokyo to join together and defend Taiwan
in order to safeguard both Japan's national security
and the interests of the U.S. in the Asia-Pacific

"Therefore, the most urgent task facing Tokyo is to
develop channels and methods with Washington to
cooperate in the defense of the Taiwan Strait.
Moreover, Japan's naval Self-Defense Forces should work
hand in hand with Taiwan's navy to ensure the security
of the seas surrounding Taiwan and thus ensure that the
U.S. Navy can smoothly and rapidly send naval carrier
task forces to Taiwan Strait in order to cope with an
emergency situation."

C) "On Friendship"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" said in an editorial (11/12):

". In Taiwan's case, the `special friend' is the United
States. If it were acting in sheer self-interest, the
U.S. would have abandoned Taiwan long ago. Taiwan, to
be quite honest, is an irritant between the U.S. and
China - the relationship between the world's most
powerful and it's [sic] most populous is something
which is vital in foreign policy, and likely to be the
century's most crucial bilateral relationship. In
truth, the U.S. State Department seems to view Taiwan
just as that - an irritant. Sometimes Taiwan seems to
think that friendly is all one way - that the U.S.
should aid Taiwan, without Taiwan doing anything in

"When it comes to defense, the U.S. acts likes a friend
- at times it speaks frankly as a friend would, but
Taiwan often acts more like a customer in a marketplace
than a friend, haggling over small details and not
accepting what is a good deal without trying to beat
the seller down.

"Taiwan's friends in the U.S. are mainly in the
Congress. These people like and admire Taiwan as a
brave and resourceful ally, but this patience at times
must wear thin as well. But like friends, they accept
there will occasionally be differences of opinion. But
it is in the nature of friends to speak frankly, and
when these friends speak, we should listen. ."


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