Cablegate: Media Reaction: Secretary Powell's Resignation

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) "Since [Chen] Has Extended an Olive Branch [to
Beijing], Why Does He Still Want to Add Fuel to the
Fire [across the Taiwan Strait]?"

The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times"
editorialized (11/17):

"U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell has tendered his
resignation, and according to a White House official,
President George W. Bush has already invited National
Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice to head the State
Department. The personnel shake-up in Washington's
diplomatic circles in the wake of the U.S. general
election is quickly taking shape. Taiwan, of course,
must monitor and pay special attention to the United
States' new diplomatic team and its implications for
Washington's Asia-Pacific policy. But more
importantly, Taiwan needs to try hard to rebuild its
image, in the eyes of the U.S. decision makers, as a
responsible and rational player whose interests are
consistent with those of the United States. .

"Among everything, the most important thing is to
rebuild the United States' trust in Taiwan because
during the past period, unexpected rifts have occurred
in the mutual trust between Taiwan and the United
States due to Taiwan's referendum and its plans to
institute a new constitution and to rectify the
nation's name. [Secretary] Powell's recent comment in
Beijing that Taiwan is not a sovereign state indicated
that President Bush's decision-making circle is
determined to strengthen its suppression of Taiwan's
press for independence in an attempt to avoid a war
across the Taiwan Strait. Different from Powell's
moderate style, Rice is a tough hard-liner. After
learning the lesson from her predecessor, the Rice team
may act more cautiously and seek to squeeze the room
allowed for Taiwan. When such an attitude is
transformed and applied to a cross-Strait
confrontation, it might pose a more unfavorable
challenge for Taiwan. .

"The responsibility of a state leader is to protect the
nation's dignity, security and prosperity. For Taiwan,
the cross-Strait relationship is what is most closely
related to its national dignity, security and
prosperity, and what the United States expects from
Taiwan is exactly its responsible and prudent attitude
in handling cross-Strait issues. When the United
States believes that Taiwan's moves hit the red line
and threaten U.S. national interests, it would
certainly attempt to destroy the threat. In any
situation such as participation in the international
community, cross-Strait security and confrontation
across the Taiwan Strait, Taiwan needs support from the
United States. Hence, it is already more than
important for Taiwan to enlarge its mutual interests
with the United States. How can this island allow
itself to become a threat in the eyes of the Untied
States? .

"To be frank, if [Chen] has to add fuel to the fire
[across the Taiwan Strait] every time after he extends
an olive branch, any beautiful olive branch will become
the firewood that keeps cross-Strait confrontation
burning. Bystanders like the United States and
international society would not feel the sincerity of
Taiwan's [desire] for reconciliation. It is a good
idea to seek accession into the United Nations under
the name of Taiwan, but let us open our eyes and look
at reality. Taiwan has failed each year in its efforts
to join the United Nations and still we have not seen
any progress on this matter. The key actually lies in
the current international political situation and the
relatively disadvantageous position Taiwan is in when
compared with China. It actually has nothing much to
do with Taiwan's name.

"Some scholars and politicians in the United States are
worried that Chen Shui-bian will push for incremental
independence for Taiwan in a `salami slicing' way. But
now it seems that Taiwan is actually trying to `scoop a
salami.' It is not using a knife on the surface;
however, it is using a spoon to scoop out the salami
once in a while. [Chen] claims one day that the
Republic of China is Taiwan, and that Taiwan is the
Republic of China. Then another day [he] says Taiwan
wants to push for its constitutional reform by carrying
out the true spirit of instituting a new constitution.
Later, [he] says that Taiwan wants to join the United
Nations using the name Taiwan, and then he claims that
the 1992 consensus is a consensus to surrender. Given
all such remarks, even though the salami has not been
cut through, it has actually been scooped empty inside
with only the skin left on the outside. .
"Perhaps many of the remarks that President Chen has
made over the past few years were for campaign
purposes, but many previous examples have shown that
the Chen Shui-bian administration seems to believe that
a strained cross-Strait relationship could greatly
benefit the Pan-Green camp. This may work well as a
campaign strategy, but in the eyes of the United States
and the international community, it merely proves that
the Taiwan authorities are unable to transcend
political party disputes and work out a policy that is
in the national interest of the island. As a result,
both Washington and the international community may
find it hard to truly trust Taiwan, [and the distrust]
will further alienate Taiwan from the United States and
allow Beijing to have a greater influence and
capability to effectively suppress Taiwan. When it
comes to the responsibilities of a state leader to
safeguard a nation's dignity, security and prosperity,
shouldn't President Chen have higher expectations for
himself other than winning an election?"

B) "The Key of the United States' Cross-Strait Policy
Lies in Taiwan's Behavior"

Journalist Sean Liu observed in the centrist, pro-
status quo "China Times" (11/17):

". [National Security Advisor Condoleezza] Rice is no
stranger to the cross-Strait issue, and she is expected
to handle the Taiwan policy on the United States'
existing basis, which includes Washington's long-
standing displeasure with the Chen Shui-bian
administration, its firm opposition to Taiwan
independence and the push for Taiwan to buy weapons.
President George W. Bush, during his second term, will
certainly urge China to demonstrate flexibility and to
resume talks with Taiwan. But if the Taiwan leaders
continue with their actions or words that often
challenge the United States' `one China policy,' it is
evident that Beijing will not be the target of U.S.

C) "Condoleezza Rice May Adjust U.S. Policy toward

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" noted in an editorial (11/17):

"For Taipei, newly re-elected President George W.
Bush's appointment yesterday of his National Security
Advisor Condoleezza Rice to replace Colin Powell as
U.S. secretary of state may provide a new opportunity
to improve Washington relations strained in the last
two years over the way President Chen Shui-bian pushed
his political agenda and addressed his differences with

"Rice is unlikely to change Washington's basic `one
China' policy, a position which has been followed by
all past administrations since the U.S. shifted
diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing more than
two decades ago. However, she could adopt a clearer
stance against Taiwan's passionate campaign to pursue
formal independence and its escalating anti-Beijing

"A State Department under Rice could move more actively
to encourage the resumption of long-stalled contacts
and talks between Taipei and Beijing. The above policy
trends have already become apparent during the latter
part of the current Beijing term. Such policy
adjustments have been considered necessary to prevent
the simmering tension between the two sides from
escalating into hot war, a conflict that the U.S. could
be drawn into. ."


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