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Cablegate: Media Reaction: China's "Anti-Secession" Law

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 004016

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: CHINA'S "ANTI-SECESSION" LAW

A) "Beijing Elevates the Level [of Its Countering
Taiwan Independence Moves] and Do It to Show to the
United States"

Journalist Yu Hui-chen said in the centrist, pro-status
quo "China Times" (12/18):

". Sources said actually China is not afraid of using
force against `Taiwan independence,' but China is
afraid to fight with the United States. Beijing's move
to legislate the `anti-secession law' is to elevate the
level of its countering Taiwan independence moves and
strategically speaking, to define China's `bottom line'
in the U.S.-China negotiations. [Beijing's purpose is
that] once a war breaks out across the Taiwan Strait
due to Taiwan's provocative actions, the United States
would have nothing to say [about the war.]

"It could be a decision out of more important concerns
for China to choose to propose the `anti-secession law'
after Taiwan's legislative elections and to `show it to
the United States.' Sources said many Chinese
government agencies and personnel involved in Taiwan
affairs consider that the biggest reason for the Pan-
Blue alliance to win the legislative elections is
because the United States had openly expressed its
attitude not to support Taiwan independence, and, thus,
influenced the voters in Taiwan.

"Beijing believes that in the current stage, the most
effective way to oppress Taiwan independence is have
the United States constrain Taiwan. As a matter of
fact, China is rather proactive on the strategy of
`collaborative management' of the situation in the
Taiwan Strait with the United States. .

"Based on strategic considerations, Beijing is
unwilling to see the `fantasy' held by the outside
world, thinking that the situation in the Taiwan Strait
is mitigating after the Pan-Blue alliance won a victory
in the legislative elections. However, it will be
difficult for China to articulate the bottom line of
`One China' when it wants to further negotiate with the
united States in terms of the Taiwan issue since
Beijing cannot even clearly define `rhetorical Taiwan
independence,' `de-jure Taiwan independence,' and `de-
facto Taiwan independence.' The timely proposal of the
`anti-secession law' not only represents that China's
struggle with Taiwan independence, headed by Hu Jintao
as the leader of the fourth generation, will enter a
new level, but also signifies an important tool that
will be used in the future U.S.-China negotiations on
Taiwan issue."

B) "No More Room for Strategic Ambiguity across the
Taiwan Strait"

Journalist Wang Ming-yi said in the centrist, pro-
status quo "China Times" (12/18):

". At the present stage, the two great rivals that
[Chinese President] Hu Jintao faces when dealing with
the Taiwan issue are: the re-elected Bush
administration and Taiwan's minority administration
headed by President Chen Shui-bian. As already hinted
in the `May 17 statement' issued by Beijing, in which
China said it `does not fear or believe in ghosts and
evil practices,' the `U.S. ghost' and the `evil
practices of Taiwan independence' are the two barriers
confronting Beijing when it deals with the Taiwan
issue. Beijing's plan to `work with the United States
in fighting against Taiwan independence' - namely, it
informed Washington in advance saying that its proposed
anti-secession law is consistent with its one China
principle - is a move to prevent Washington from
turning into a factor that will interfere with China's
anti-Taiwan independence policy."

C) "China's Proposed `Anti-Secession Law' Is Not Only
an Attempt to Intimidate Taiwan But Also a Public
Challenge to the United States; Both [Taiwan's] Ruling
and Opposition Parties Should Join Hands to Address the
Move"

The pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" said in an
editorial (12/20):

". No matter whether it is called the `National
Reunification Law' or the `Anti-Secession Law,' the
proposed bill has exposed the ridiculous mindset of the
Chinese government in treating Taiwan as a `special
administrative region under the PRC.' Beijing's
attempt is both intimidation against and an insult to
Taiwan's dignity and its sovereignty that is shared by
all Taiwan people. [Our] government should closely
monitor any follow-up moves by Beijing and raise a
solemn protest to the international community [about
Beijing's attempt]. ."

D) "Ultimatum - Or Just More Propaganda from Mainland?"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" editorialized (12/19):

". But there is surely another aspect to the proposed
[anti-secession] law involving the United States, which
Beijing views as the key stumbling block to gaining
possession of Taiwan despite the overwhelming
opposition to reunification under Beijing's terms among
the people of Taiwan.

"Ever since the Taiwan Relations Act was passed by the
U.S. Congress in 1979 to provide a basis for
`unofficial' substantive relations with Taipei, Beijing
has complained about alleged U.S. `interference' in the
PRC's `internal affairs.'

"Passage of a so-called `anti-secession' law by
Beijing's rubber-stamp parliament would give [Chinese
President] Hu the rhetorical tool he needs to counter
the Taiwan Relations Act, which American government
officials unceasingly cite as the basis for their
continued support of our government and people.

"As long as this proposed legislation remains just as a
rhetorical tool or a `bone' to throw to some hard-
liners that remain a vocal minority within the ranks of
the Chinese Communist Party, we will not need to worry
too much about the law's potential impact on cross-
strait relations.

"But we will need to pay close attention to the wording
of the bill, and not just to gauge whether Hu is really
in charge. If the law is worded so strictly as to
mandate military action at the slightest provocation,
we should prepare our armed forces and public to deal
with the possibility of military action against us.

"Even though we believe such action would be likely to
end in defeat for the communist forces on the
battlefield, an outbreak of military conflict in the
Taiwan Strait would have horrific consequences for our
security, as well as regional stability and the entire
world's economy. ."

E) "China's Dangerous Leap Backwards"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
commented in an editorial (12/20):

". The new [anti-secession] law might have the benefit
of waking the US up to how it has let itself be
hopelessly manipulated by Beijing for the last year or
so into putting pressure on Taiwan and working against
its better, strategic interests.

"But the important message that has to be understood in
Washington and broadcast to Beijing is that the new law
will be a disaster for any kind of cross-strait
dialogue. Taiwan has been willing to talk for a long
time. It simply wants to do so without preposterous
preconditions which nobody could possibly find
acceptable.

"This leaves the ball in Beijing's court to soften its
stance and allow talks to take place. Actually Beijing
needs an internal debate about how best to woo Taiwan.
But all the regime understands is pressure. It thinks
pressure works and it is about to go some way toward
criminalizing the suggestion that pressure should be
abandoned. This is a great and dangerous leap
backwards."

PAAL

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