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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.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 TAIPEI 003608

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR INR/R/MR, EAP/RSP/TC, EAP/PA, EAP/PD -
ROBERT PALLADINO
DEPARTMENT PASS AIT/WASHINGTON

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: OPRC KMDR KPAO TW
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: U.S.-CHINA-TAIWAN RELATIONS


A) "A Strategic Chess Piece That Can Be Given up
Anytime"

Professor Chu Yun-han of National Taiwan University's
Department of Political Science noted in the "Weekly
Comment" column of the centrist, pro-status quo "China
Times" (11/15):

". In the National Security Council, President Chen
recently delivered a ten-point announcement in an
attempt to diffuse the negative effects triggered by
his `National Day Address.' Although the Taipei
administration tried to play down the striking remarks
that Secretary of State Colin Powell made in Beijing,
they have sensed the policy adjustment regarding the
cross-Strait situation that is being initiated by
Washington. President Chen's `ten-point' initiative
may clear up international worries that Taiwan might
develop weapons of mass destruction and preclude the
[possibility] that Beijing may use [these worries] as
an excuse for a first strike. However, in the midst of
the political and cultural constructions in Taiwan that
are aiming for the building of a new nation, these
decorative declarations can neither extinguish the
anger of Beijing leaders nor relieve the anxiety in
Washington.

"Top-level visits to Beijing from Washington have been
frequent this year because the Americans are aware that
preventive diplomacy as well as preventive defense
measures have gradually grown ineffective. Neither the
strengthening of the forward military deployment in the
West Pacific Region nor the management of seven carrier
fleets for real time global exercises can successfully
suppress the thought that `a cross-Strait war is
unavoidable' in the Beijing leaders' minds. Neither
the sending of an envoy to persuade Taipei [to be
prudent] nor the expression of disagreement by the U.S
president can stop the Taiwanese from testing the
bottom line of Beijing's tolerance. Given the
development of these trends, the United States will be
forced, sooner or later, to choose between the worst
scenarios, namely, either to compete with Beijing
militarily and engage in an unlimited and unimaginable
millennium war, or to force Taipei to sign a treaty in
recognition of Beijing's sovereignty over Taiwan and,
thus, reduce the leadership credentials in East Asia
and [allow the beginning] of a hegemonic transition [in
the region].

"Only the two worst options are left for the United
States. The reason is that once the People's
Liberation Army takes the ASAP strategy to attack
Taiwan, the [only] remaining effective option for the
United States is militarily intervention due to
Taiwan's weak defensive capabilities as well as the
fragile domestic psychology and economic
infrastructure. Some experts have already made private
predictions, after objective analysis, that the only
realistic strategic option for the United States is to
abandon Taiwan's position of self-determination [in the
face of otherwise] unimaginable consequences,
unbearable costs and risks that Americans would
otherwise confront . .


"It is expected that the decision-making circle in
Washington is now very concerned about the cross-Strait
situation, and this is not simply because the United
States is already too busy handling the difficult
situation in Iraq or because it needs to rely on China
to help resolve the nuclear crisis on the Korean
Peninsula. The cross-Strait issue will be the greatest
diplomatic challenge for President George W. Bush
during his second term because once this potential
crisis breaks out, it will create the most severe
challenge to the United States' strategic leadership in
East Asia. If the United States fails to control the
situation and is forced to make a choice between the
two worst scenarios, it would be practically like
making an announcement of a major setback in U.S.
foreign policy, and this is something that the current
U.S. foreign policy makers would definitely try to
avoid. Thus, Washington needs to start taking some
preventive measures that it did not want to take before
to try every means it can to prevent the cross-Strait
situation from getting out of control.

"Secretary Powell's rigid remarks in Beijing that
`Taiwan is not independent and it does not enjoy
sovereignty as a nation' have reluctantly given away
all the ambiguity that the United States hoped to
maintain over the past two decades. This means that
for the decision makers in Washington, since they could
not expect the leaders in Taipei to strictly abide by
the `four No's' policy, the United States is then
forced to set a clearer and tighter framework for
Taipei. The framework is quite obvious as [we] look at
Powell's comments together with Assistant Secretary of
State James Kelly's policy announcement that `the
United States is opposed to any unilateral attempt to
change the status quo, a status quo that is defined by
the United States.' To put it in plain language, it
means that `the status quo as defined by the United
States' is `Taiwan is not independent and that it does
not enjoy sovereignty as a nation.' If Taiwan tries to
use political actions to assure its independence and
sovereign status, it would mean it is attempting to
alter the status quo defined by the United States. .

". U.S. decision makers have began to sense that the
situation's development has forced them to re-evaluate
Taiwan's value on a strategic scale. Once the costs
and risks to protect Taiwan have evidently outweighed
the limits that the United States can sustain, it would
have to give up the strategic chess piece [Taiwan]
overnight."

B) "Seize the Opportunity for Peace"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
editorialized (11/13):

". Taiwan saw Chen [Shui-bian] win a second term in
March. In the US, President George W. Bush has also
just won a second term, and in China, President Hu
Jintao recently consolidated party, government and
military power in his hands. In all three nations,
power has been confirmed, making this the best time to
seek cross-Strait peace.

"The US has already said that Chen's 10-point
initiative `lays the foundation' for progress toward
resumption of dialogue. But we hope that when Bush and
Hu meet in Chile for APEC summit later this month, they
will also accept the participation of Taiwan's special
envoy Lee Yuan-tseh to engage in three-sided talks over
the 10 points, opening up a new opportunity for peace
across the Taiwan Strait."

PAAL

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