Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S.-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 003906
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.-TAIWAN RELATIONS
A) "Repetitive Bumping on U.S.-Taiwan Relations Results
in Tighter Inhibition; Washington Measures Promoting a
Referendum and Changing Taiwan's Name with Different
Standards; One Needs to Evaluate the Price of Reckless
Washington Correspondent Liu Ping of the pro-status quo
"China Times" wrote (12/8):
". The referendum issue was an unpleasant experience
for the two sides. This time, although the United
States has made it clear, there is but three days left
before the balloting day. Can Taiwan put the brakes on
now? After the State Department statement, President
Chen said `the United States is conveying China's
objection.' Despite this being a campaign statement,
it can widen the gap between the two countries and even
be seen as an insult to the United States. On the
other hand, while the U.S. officials in charge [of
foreign affairs] are in a transitional period, it is a
trial of how to continue to control by powerful
measures a horse that is about to run wild.
". Recent developments have made the United States more
and more frustrated. Its trust in the Taipei
authorities is getting less and less. Therefore, the
United States has used up all the terms it can use to
the limits of diplomatic terminology.
". Commenting on the name changing issue, a senior
diplomat once said, `our final goal is to resume
diplomatic relations and re-open an embassy.' However,
with the deterioration of cross-Strait relations, can
it be easier to change Taiwan's name as setting up an
embassy is impossible?"
B) "Whether It Is a Campaign Statement or Not,
Washington Takes All of Them Seriously; It Monitors
Chen's Words and Deeds and Has Reacted Promptly and
Precisely This Time; The Media Did Not Ask for the
Answer; It Is a Prepared Warning"
Vincent Chang, Washington correspondent of the
conservative, pro-unification "United Daily News"
". In a way, the channels for U.S.-Taiwan
communications are still working well. But
Washington's attitude has totally changed. It no
longer believes that Chen Shui-bian is only saying
things not to be taken seriously. Recent State
Department reactions can be said [to be] the result of
close `monitoring' by the United States of Taiwan's
rhetoric and moves rather than `close communications'
between the United States and Taiwan.
". President Chen may be making `real or false'
comments. But Washington's approach now is to treat
him the way he treats others. Whether President Chen
means it or not, whether it is `campaign rhetoric' or
sausage-cutting `campaign promises,' all are being
taken seriously [by Washington].
"The reason is that the Bush administration has learned
over the past four years that only when Washington
takes seriously what President Chen says, will Chen
`take seriously' Washington's reaction. He cannot use
election campaigning as an excuse to justify everything
and ask the United States to be `understanding'
C) "The United States' Continued Constraint of Taiwan
Democracy Is Sending the Wrong Messages to China"
The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" editorialized
". In the past, no one paid much attention to the names
of organizations such as China Steel Corp., China
Petroleum Corp., China Shipbuilding Corp., China
Airlines, and the International Commercial Bank of
China. On one hand, it is because nobody dared to
question the names under the past authoritative system.
On the other hand, it is because Chinese enterprises
were not in the international arena yet. All these
things have changed now. There is no reason to cherish
the outmoded .. The United States has taken as its duty
the promotion of freedom, democracy, and human rights
all over the world. But it is really a huge irony that
the United States is criticizing Taiwan's efforts
toward these goals and making Taiwan's democratization
D) "Promoting Name Changes Is a Move Reflecting
Taiwan's Mainstream Public Opinion, Not a Change of the
The pro-independence "Liberty Times" commented in an
". We have to lodge the strongest protest to the U.S.
government for some inappropriate parts of the U.S.
policy toward Taiwan and U.S. official remarks that
overstep their capacity and interfere in Taiwan's
domestic affairs. Taiwan is an independent sovereign
state, and this is the status quo. Any changes in the
nation's name, national flag, national anthem or
campaign for name rectification should not be regarded
as a change to the status quo. Instead, they are moves
that [match] Taiwan's mainstream public opinion to
`match reality' and make Taiwan a normal country.
". It is unacceptable that the United States regards
plans to change the names of Taiwan's state-owned
companies as a change of Taiwan's status and will not
support the plans. Frankly speaking, Taiwan is no
colony of any country, and outsiders cannot interfere
with our internal affairs. Opinions from friends can be
used for reference, but [regarding doing] the right
thing that is supported by the public, Taiwan should go
ahead and do it. There's no need to care about the
opposition and criticism from outside."
E) "Taiwan' Means What It Says"
An editorial of pro-unification, English-language
"Taipei Times" said (12/8):
". There is no need for the State Department to be so
nervous. It seems that as soon as Taiwan mentions a new
constitution or title of convenience, their officials
fear a declaration of independence is imminent.
Taiwanese democracy operates on the strength of the
same mechanisms as many other democratic countries. All
matters concerning national sovereignty must be
approved by the legislature, so President Chen Shui-
bian and the government are hardly likely to adopt the
autocratic methods so loved by earlier Chinese
Nationalist Party (KMT) administrations.
"Changing the names of state-run enterprises, on the
other hand, is a purely domestic matter and the US has
no basis on which it can interfere. As for the names of
private enterprises, not even Taiwan's government can
interfere with such commercial decisions.
"Attempts to change the name of Taiwan date back to
1979 when the Taiwan Relations Act came into force. At
that time the KMT even protested that the name Taiwan
was being used to refer to the Republic of China (ROC).
So, if `Taiwan' is now used to stand in for `ROC' in
other contexts, the US really has no reason to object.
If it does, it might be usefully asked to refer to its
own law books.
"There is nothing unreasonable about a new constitution
that redefines this nation's territories as those which
it actually controls, namely Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and
Matsu. Similarly, any reasonable person would welcome
the name `Taiwan' as a replacement for all of the
peculiar titles under which this country has labored so
that people can differentiate between Taiwan and China
at a glance."