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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Rice's Beijing Trip

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

210834Z Mar 05

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 TAIPEI 001200

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: RICE'S BEIJING TRIP


Summary: Coverage of U.S. Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice's visit to Beijing by the major Taipei
dailies March 21 focused on Rice's meetings with
Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao
Sunday in which she called upon China to adopt actions
to reduce cross-Strait tensions. The pro-independence
"Taiwan Daily" ran a banner headline in its front page
that read, "Rice urges China to peacefully resolve the
Taiwan issue." A page-two story of Taiwan's largest
daily, the pro-independence "Liberty Times," and a page-
three story of the centrist "China Times," both
included in their sub-headlines that "Rice believes
peaceful resolution to the Taiwan issue meets the U.S.
interests." The pro-unification "United Daily News,'
however, points out in a page-two story that during the
meeting with Hu and Wen, it was noteworthy that Rice
did mention Washington's consistent position that it
does not support Taiwan independence (or even opposes
it). A "United Daily News" news analysis on page two
headlined: "The United States' failure to mention [its
position on] anti-Taiwan independence evidently shows
that it still has doubts about the Anti-Secession Law."
A separate news analysis written by "United Daily News"
Washington correspondent Vincent Chang said Taipei is
very concerned about Washington's future policy
direction. If Rice fails to openly oppose the Anti-
Secession Law, the article said, Taiwan's freedom to
make its own choices with regard to its future will be
greatly reduced. A limited-circulation, pro-
independence English-language "Taiwan News," on the
other hand, suggested in its editorial that the Bush
administration and Rice take into account the Taiwan
people's objections to the Anti-Secession Law and the
firm and responsible reaction by President Chen and the
DPP administration to Beijing's one-sided attempt to
introduce undemocratic and non-peaceful means to
sabotage cross-strait peace and undermine Taiwan's
democracy. End summary.

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A) "To Set the Tune on the Anti-Secession Law, Rice Has
a Standard Answer in Her Pocket. Taipei Is Concerned
about [Washington's] Future Policy Direction. If Rice
Does Not Openly Oppose [the Anti-Secession Law],
Taiwan's [Freedom] to Make Its Own Choices Will Be
Greatly Reduced"

Washington correspondent Vincent Chang commented in the
conservative, pro-unification "United Daily News"
[circulation: 600,000] (3/21):

". From the many remarks made [by Washington] prior to
[U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice's visit to
Beijing, it is obvious that if Taipei fails to get Rice
in Beijing to `at least' openly define the Anti-
Secession Law as `a move that alters the status quo of
the Taiwan Strait,' or to get Washington [to say openly
that it] `opposes' the law, the Anti-Secession Law
might become part of the `status quo' of the Taiwan
Strait in the future. Should that be the case,
Taiwan's alternatives to remain flexible in making its
own choices [with regard to its future] will also be
greatly reduced.

"Rice's talks in Tokyo with regard to cross-Strait
relations and the Anti-Secession Law could be combined
into an intriguing syllogism: `Neither Taiwan nor China
can unilaterally resolve the Taiwan issue. The United
States is opposed to any behavior or action by either
side of the Taiwan Strait to unilaterally change the
status quo. Any unilateral move to escalate tensions
[in the Taiwan Strait] is not helpful [to resolve the
cross-Strait disputes].'

"The U.S. position could be summarized using this
syllogism starting from the time when the draft Anti-
Secession Law was raised until the time it was passed.
However, this syllogism is not precise at all. It is
not precise [in the way] whether the subject talked
about in the syllogism refers to the Anti-Secession
Law; it is not precise whether the law can be defined
as `a move that unilaterally changes the status quo;'
and it is not precise whether the United States is
`opposed' to the law. .

"The biggest predicament and dilemma that Washington
encounters in the face of the Anti-Secession Law and
the main reason why it cannot totally agree with Taipei
[as to how to react to the law] is that even though the
United Stats is not pleased with some of the articles
in the Anti-Secession Law, Washington, based on the
position of its existed China policy, cannot say that
it totally disagree with all the contents in the law.
."

"But if it is sure that following Rice's visit to
Beijing, Washington decides to use the syllogism to set
a tune [on the Anti-Secession Law], it is definite that
Taipei, which is now in an unfavorable position, will
not be yielded willingly. But if Taipei decides to
adopt more follow-up counteractions, including the mass
rally scheduled for March 26, what will be the bottom
lines of Washington and Beijing and how much can they
tolerate? How many warnings will Taipei get from
Washington and how strong will they be? All these
above will affect the future interactions between
Washington, Taipei and Beijing."

B) "Making the Best Use of Taiwan's Leverage"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taiwan News"
[20,000] editorialized (3/21):

". Rice said that in her meetings in Beijing this week,
she will reiterate the Bush administration's complaint
that the anti-secession law is not `helpful' in
reducing cross-strait tensions because Washington
considers the anti-secession law to be a unilateral
move to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait.

"Rice's comments and deeds will serve as key indicators
for the state of the dynamics of the triangular
relationship between Washington, Taipei and Beijing and
promise to have significant implications for future
U.S.-Taiwan relations and the attitudes of other
countries toward China as well as for the direction of
future adjustments of Washington's policy toward
President Chen Shui-bian's administration. .

"Taiwan should continue to make the best use of
international leverage to mold its image as a
constructive member of the global community of
democracies. We, therefore, strongly suggest the Bush
administration and Secretary Rice to take into account
the objections of the overwhelming majority of the
Taiwan people to the PRC `anti-secession law' and the
firm and responsible reaction by President Chen and the
DPP administration to Beijing's one-sided attempt to
introduce undemocratic and non-peaceful means to
sabotage cross-strait peace and undermine Taiwan's
democracy.

"We particularly urge Rice to convey three messages to
Beijing leaders. First, Rice should insist that it is
impermissible to use `non-peaceful means' or military
force of any kind against Taiwan. This message would
not only represent the universal value of the peaceful
handling of regional disputes or conflicts but also
would be consistent with current U.S. policy toward
Taiwan and the PRC.

"Besides noting that the anti-secession law is
unfortunate and unhelpful to maintaining peace in the
Taiwan Strait, Rice should solemnly remind her
counterparts in Beijing of the grave consequences
embedded in such belligerent and hostile action.

"Washington should clearly delineate its own red line
to the Beijing government by noting that the new law
trespasses on the scope of the U.S.' own `Taiwan
Relations Act' of 1980 which provides legitimatization
for the U.S. government to help Taiwan defend itself in
case of a military crisis, such as a PRC invasion or
other act of war.

"Second, Rice should present Beijing leaders with the
content of the U.S. congressional resolutions
expressing the grave concern of the U.S. people over
the threats posed by the PRC law to peace and stability
in the Taiwan Strait. Moreover, China's accelerating
military build-up, combined with the blank
authorization to use force against Taiwan, has not only
heighten regional concerns but is also seen as
detrimental to world peace.

"Beijing should also be made to clearly understand that
its latest action has reinforced Washington's
objections to the proposal for the European Union to
lift is 16-year embargo on arms sales to the PRC.

"Finally, and most importantly, Washington should de-
link the negative impact of the anti-separation law
with its current policy of pursuing a candid,
cooperative and constructive relationship with China on
issues related to the Korean Peninsula or the Bushian
anti-terrorism crusade.

"Taiwan's interests should be safeguarded and not used
as a bargaining chip in Washington's policy efforts to
engage China.

"While maintaining our restrained but firm stance in
dealing with the PRC legislation, the Taiwan government
should utilize all of its formal and informal
diplomatic resources to enhance awareness in the
international community that Beijing is the side which
is rocking the boat of peace and stability in the
Taiwan Strait. ."

PAAL

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