Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Plan to Change Names

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) "Taiwan's Name Change Campaign and U.S. Responses"

Lin Cheng-yi, Research Fellow and Director of the
Institute of International Relations, National Chengchi
University, said in a commentary in the pro-status quo
"China Times" (12/9):

"During the Cold War period, the United States and
Taiwan shared the same military strategy of blocking
Communist China. Nevertheless, both President
Eisenhower and President Kennedy were against Chiang
Kai-shek's plan to retake the Chinese mainland. In
1962, representatives of Kennedy and Mao Zedong met in
Warsaw and reached a consensus to jointly oppose
Chiang's proposed attack on Mainland China. Now, more
than 10 years after the end of the Cold War, Taiwan's
democratization has gradually moved from a bargaining
chip to a potential problem. After Taipei pitched the
ideas of `Special State-to-state Relations,' `One Side,
One Country,' and `defensive referendum,' the United
States has come to realize that in addition to China,
Taiwan is poised to become a source of instability in
U.S.-China-Taiwan relations. Washington even feels the
urge to pressure Taipei before pushing Beijing.

"The democratic developments in Taiwan after President
Lee Teng-hui's rule put the United States in a dilemma,
prompting Washington to narrow down the scope of the
application of universal democratic values. In
response to Taiwan's referendum plans, the Bush
administration appeared unprepared and sent
inconsistent messages. At one point, the United States
said it didn't oppose the holding of referenda, later
it said the United States didn't see any special need
for referenda, and finally it stated its opposition to
any unilateral change to the status quo. In the wake
of such a difficult situation, the Bush administration
stated, immediately after Taiwan concluded its
`defensive referendum' and well before it initiates
constitutional reforms, that U.S. support is limited
and it wouldn't be vague about the issue and would only
make straightforward comments, otherwise, no one would

"While the Bush Administration opposes unilateral moves
by either side of the Taiwan Strait to change the
status quo, it is reluctant to explain explicitly what
is the so-called `status quo' of the Taiwan Strait and
what is the `red line,' despite the fact that it wants
to maintain the right to define these terms. The
United States has increased its use of the terms status
quo, red line, and red areas, but has never cited solid
examples. Recently, the U.S. Department of State
surprised many by saying that changes to the
terminology for Taiwan's state-owned companies or
economic and cultural offices abroad would unilaterally
change Taiwan's status quo and are steps the United
States would not support.

"The Bush administration interfered in Taiwan's
internal affairs with its rapid and clear statement of
not supporting Taiwan's name rectification campaign
before the island kicks off its constitutional reforms.
Yet the move serves as an early warning from the United
States. The United States, involved in the global war
on terror, reconstruction in Iraq, and nuclear
developments in North Korea and Iraq, is unlikely to
freeze democratic developments in Taiwan. It can only
urge Taipei to restrain itself and hopes for no
[untoward] event in the Taiwan Strait. The Bush
administration is counting on official written promises
by the Taipei leader as criteria for reviewing and
judging [his actions].

"Beijing's strong opposition to the terms of `Taiwan,'
`national,' and `central' has directly and indirectly
led to Taiwan's appeal for name rectification.
Taiwan's name rectification campaign points to the
establishment of the Taiwan identity and consensus and
implies an independent Taiwan sovereignty. The
campaign is expected to confront difficulties both
internally and externally. If a sports event is
organized by the private sector, and the institution
requiring a name change is a private company and the
event is limited to Taiwan, then the impact will be
limited. When the government's overseas missions and
official documents are involved, the issue will arouse
greater pressure. As a first step to name
rectification, one would refer to the name Taiwan in
documents, alongside the official name of the Republic
of China, and use Taiwan in oral communication, instead
of `Taipei, China' or `Chinese Taipei' as forced by

"Taiwan has few diplomatic allies and the Taiwan
government belongs to even fewer international
organizations. The names Taiwan representatives use
for international negotiations can hardly provide
satisfactory dignity and fair treatment. The
rectification campaign has justified reasons and some
parts of it can be controlled by us. However, the
parts that involves outside parties is controlled by
others. The United States does not regard Taiwan's
efforts to gain room for diplomatic maneuvers as a
crucial issue, nor anything essential to Taiwan's
survival. It has shown some sympathy but provided no
significant assistance, and it even expressed its
stance of no support. That is the real situation
Taiwan's name rectification campaign is in.

"Taiwan's name rectification campaign and
constitutional reforms have slow and quick paces as
well as some real and unreal sides. Nonetheless,
appealing to justice is not as effective as resorting
to comprehensive procedures. In his second term,
President Bush has moved to adjust personnel lineups in
the Department of State and National Security Council.
The Taiwan-U.S. relations will eventually return to the
basics of stable development, mutual trust and mutual
benefits. The United States stands as a buffer for
Taiwan with regard to China's pressure. Taiwan now has
to face pressure from Washington, a harsh and
unpleasant factor that in turn allows the other side
[China] who should be blamed [for causing these awkward
situations] to get away. The tough challenge for the
Taiwan leader is to figure out how to convince the
United States to accept Taiwan's change while keeping
China from resorting to war. It is not a mission

B) "It's Taiwan's Right to Chang"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
said in an editorial (12/9):

"These days, Taiwan seems unable to escape criticism.
Whatever President Chen Shui-bian does, the United
States accuses him of `attempting to unilaterally
change the status quo.' The referendum on arms
purchases held with the March 20 presidential election
was considered a violation of the status quo, and the
move to rename Taiwan's overseas government agencies is
also being criticized as a violation of the status quo.
One cannot help but wonder if the trade pact signed by
China and ASEAN states is also a violation of the
status quo, since Taiwan's economic advantages are
being marginalized. Both German Chancellor Gerhard
Schroeder and French President Jacques Chirac have
recently been working to lift the EU's arms embargo
against China. Isn't this also a violation of the
status quo? What is the US' view of China's actions?

"The terminology of contemporary politics is being
defined by China alone. In applying these rules, China
seems to have brought the rest of the world under its
wing, with the United States following China's lead in
the use of this terminology, seemingly unaware of
danger. China is trying to bury Taiwan alive with the
term `status quo,' and unfortunately, the United States
might be serving as Beijing's unwitting accomplice.

". After the United States turned its back on Taiwan in
1979, what point in time can be used to define the
status quo? If the status quo is understood by the
United States as a situation in which China deploys an
estimated 600 ballistic missiles against Taiwan and
upholds its `one China' principle while gradually
trying to take over the island, then what is the point
of such a status quo? Why does Washington want to
maintain Beijing's military threat and even rationalize
it as the status quo?

"There is nothing wrong with correcting Taiwan's name,
and it in no way threatens anyone or infringes upon
others' rights. Many African countries cast off the
yoke of colonial rule, rejected their colonial rulers'
names and took new names ..

"Taiwan has shifted from the minority rule of
Mainlanders during the KMT era to rule by all of the
people. It's the public's right to change the
country's name from one associated with a Chinese
colonial regime.

The Taiwan Relations Act specifies the terms of U.S.
military assistance to Taiwan, but it does not prevent
China from pursuing a policy of marginalizing Taiwan
out of existence in the international community. If
they carry on in this fashion, even the struggle for
continued existence itself is likely to be criticized
by the United States as a unilateral change to the
status quo."

C) "Chen Losing the Trust of a Long-time Ally"

An editorial of the conservative, pro-unification,
English-language "China Post" said (12/9):

". The truth is that the United States has become
impatient with Chen and his administration. Chen and
his men said replacing the word China with Taiwan could
prevent confusion with mainland China's firms and
organizations. But it does not take much wisdom and
know-how to be aware that this explanation is nothing
but a ruse for advancing the independence movement.

"Chen has made the latest controversial declarations at
campaign forums, and those remarks, such as his
proposal for a new constitution, were mainly aimed at
winning over independence-minded voters, who tend to be
more supportive of the more radical Taiwan Solidarity

"The president is playing with fire. His reckless acts
have harmed ROC-U.S. relations irrevocably. It is well-
nigh impossible for Taiwan to regain steadfast support
from the United States."


© Scoop Media

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