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.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: Major Chinese-language newspapers in Taiwan
continued March 18 to report on China's Anti-Secession
Law by focusing on the U.S. House of Representatives'
successful passage of a resolution Thursday demanding
that the Bush administration express grave concern
about the Anti-Secession Law, and on Taiwan's reaction
to the House of Representatives' move. Taiwan's
largest daily, the pro-independence "Liberty Times,"
ran a page-two article that said, in the sub-headline:
"The House passed the resolution by an overwhelming
margin of 424 to 4 votes. The Senate will follow suit.
[The resolution] will provide a substantive foundation
for [U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice when she
visits and negotiates with China." Both the pro-
independence "Liberty Times" and "Taiwan Daily"
reported on page two that Taiwan's Foreign Minister
Mark Chen said his ministry is initiating proposals to
bring the issue of the Anti-Secession Law to the United
Nations with help from Taiwan allies. The "Liberty
Times" also had an article on page two headlined:
"Taiwan will find an opportunity to ask the United
States to review the Taiwan Relations Act." The
centrist "China Times," in a story on page thirteen,
quoted Taiwan's Cabinet Spokesman Cho Jung-tai as
saying that Rice's visit will bring pressure from the
international community to bear on China since the U.S.
government and its congress have taken a firm and
determined position toward China's Anti-Secession Law.

2. A "China Times" editorial urged the Chen Shui-bian
administration to use a democratic approach to respond
to Beijing's `non-peaceful' Anti-Secession Law. An op-
ed piece in the limited-circulation, pro-independence
English-language "Taipei Times" noted that Chinese
President Hu Jintao's new four-point guideline of March
4, when taken together with the Anti-Secession Law and
the U.S.-Japan Security Treaty, reveals a clear picture
for Taiwan -- i.e. Washington and Beijing will work
together to prevent Taiwan from claiming independence,
and Washington and Tokyo will join hands stop China
from taking Taiwan by force. The limited-circulation,
pro-unification English-language "China Post"
editorial, however, presented Taiwan's role in the
region as part of an emerging strategic competition
between the United States and its allies and China to
control the future of the Asian region. End summary.

A)" Using a Democratic Approach to Respond to `Non-
Peaceful' [Means] Is a Right Thing to Do!"

The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 600,000] editorialized (3/18):

". The Beijing authorities may find it difficult to
understand why many Taiwan people mind that the word
`non-peaceful' appears in the articles [of the Anti-
Secession Law] since [in Beijing's view,] it has
included many goodwill gestures in the law. The reason
is very simple. The people of Taiwan, given many years
of cultivating democracy, believe that any dispute can
be worked out using a peaceful, rational and democratic
approach. Beijing maybe cared a great deal about the
calls for a new constitution and name changes for
Taiwan during last year-end's Legislative Yuan
elections. But didn't Taiwan voters already [make a
choice and] offer an answer with their votes? Without
the results of last year-end's elections, we would not
see the direct cross-Strait charter flights for the
Lunar New Year in January, nor would there be a ten-
point joint statement announced by [President] Chen and
[PFP Chairman James] Soong in February. Beijing's Anti-
Secession Law, on the other hand, gives many Taiwan
people the impression that no matter how hard they have
tried to demonstrate the wisdom of `maintaining the
status quo' in the Taiwan Strait, they are still
haunted by the shadow of `non-peaceful' treatment [by

"By the same token, the Taiwan authorities should not
misinterpret the antipathy of the majority of Taiwan
people toward the Anti-Secession Law and think that
public opinion in Taiwan has turned to the other side
again. [The truth is that] the same high percentage of
Taiwan people also disagree with having Chen personally
join and stand at the front line of the mass rally [in
protest of the Anti-Secession Law] -- one of the major
examples that demonstrates the wisdom of the public.
In other words, members of the public naturally support
Taiwan articulating its dissatisfaction toward the
Beijing authorities, but this does not mean that they
support having cross-Strait relations totally moving
backwards. This is another reason showing the value of
democracy. ."

B) "Does China Need a Law to Wage War on Taiwan?"

Freelance writer Ku Er-teh noted in an op-ed piece in
the pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] (3/18):

". What we need to take note of is that on March 4, Hu
spoke of his four-point guideline on Taiwan in response
to President Chen Shui-bian's `four noes and one not.'
This is very different from Jiang's `listen to what
[Chen] says and observe what he does' policy.

"If Hu's new four-point guideline is taken together
with the Anti-Secession Law and US-Japan Security
Treaty, what looms ahead of Taiwan is very clear: The
US and China prevent Taiwan form claiming independence,
the US and Japan work together to stop China taking
Taiwan by force, and the US pushes both sides to

"Hu's remarks revealed that Chen's `four noes and one
not' is the bottom line acceptable to both sides, and
that he expects Chen to conform to the `one China'
principle. ."

C) "Taiwan's Role in Struggle for Strategic Dominance
in Asia"

The conservative, pro-unification, English-language
"China Post" [circulation: 30,000] observed in an
editorial (3/18):

"Taiwan is caught up in a bigger game than a simple
assertion of the self-governing island's right to
decide its own future. Taiwan is part of an emerging
strategic competition between the U.S. and its allies
and mainland China to control the future of the Asian
region. .

"The U.S. is growing impatient with Taiwan. The
opposition controlled Legislature is dragging its feet
on passing a budget for a multi-billion dollar arms
package from the U.S., which is mainly focused anti-
submarine warfare. . The U.S. has signaled that Taiwan,
which it has regarded as a strategic asset, without a
substantial rearming may now become a strategic

"In all, the U.S. will expect its allies to aid in
containing Beijing's military ambitions. China sees
Taiwan as a part of it [sic] territory and its
unification would break down the U.S. lines of
communication and would further isolate Japan. .

"So far, the emerging strategic competition can't
properly be called a new Cold War in the sense of the
old United States-Soviet Union conflict, but the
military realignment is sure to promote China's
paranoia of `encirclement.' Taking over Taiwan, and
putting it out of the equation, is a long term
strategic objective that Beijing will achieve by force
if necessary."


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