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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.




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: The focus of Taipei's dailies has shifted
March 8 from China's "anti-secession law" to the
identification of the shooter of the pre-election
shootings of President Chen Shui-bian and Vice
President Annette Lu on March 19, 2004. Extensive
coverage of the March 19 shootings was provided on the
front and inside pages of all the Taiwan newspapers.
Nonetheless, the centrist "China Times" and pro-
unification "United Daily News" still carried reports
on their front pages discussing the content of the
"anti-secession law" that will be reviewed today by
China's National People's Congress.

2. For the United States' role in China's "anti-
secession law," a banner headline in the centrist
"China Times" (P.10) read: "With regard to
communication concerning the anti-secession law, the
United States helps [pass messages] in the cross-Strait
dialogue." A separate article ran on the same page
with the headline: "The United States shows no concern
before the articles [of the "anti-secession law"] are
announced." "United Daily News" journalist Sun Yang-
ming noted in the only March 8 commentary on the topic
that Washington is not opposed to the "anti-secession
law" mainly because it does not trust Taiwan and partly
because it wants to protect the "status quo" as jointly
defined by Beijing and itself. End summary.

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"Why the United States Is Not Opposed to the `Anti-
Secession Law'"

Journalist Sun Yang-ming noted in the "United Notes"
column of the conservative, pro-unification "United
Daily News" [circulation: 600,000] (3/8):

"[Chinese President] Hu Jintao talked about his views
on [China's] policy toward Taiwan, in which the most
important part is his definition of the `status quo' of
the Taiwan Strait, which also set the tune for China's
`anti-secession law.' Hu's definition basically meets
the United States' interests in the Taiwan Strait at
the current stage. .

"Based on this definition, Beijing believes that the
current status quo in the Taiwan Strait is acceptable.
This stand [held by Beijing] is consistent with the
United States' long-term attempt to pursue stability
across the Taiwan Strait; it is also common ground
shared by Washington and Beijing with regard to cross-
Strait issues. But the common interests between the
United States and China in the Taiwan Strait are surely
more than that. Hu also mentioned that anything
involving China's sovereignty and territorial integrity
must be jointly decided by the 1.3 billion Chinese
people together, which includes the people of Taiwan.
This statement is also consistent with the Bush
administration's view that `Taiwan's future should be
decided by the people on both sides of the Taiwan

"This explains why the Bush administration is not so
worried about the `anti-secession law.' In the
concepts of the United States, the [`anti-secession']
bill itself is naturally a law that is created to
accommodate the status quo. For Beijing, the law is a
less attractive objective after the attempted
legislation of the `unification law' failed, and it is
a legal concept created to meet the demands of the
United States on cross-Strait stability ..

"The United States is not opposed to the `anti-
secession law' mainly because it does not trust Taiwan
and partly also because it wants to protect the `status
quo' as jointly defined by both Beijing and itself. As
a matter of fact, even though Washington is not opposed
to the law, it is not very happy about it either
because obviously Beijing has `created trouble' [for
Washington]. .

"In fact, Washington's doubts about [President] Chen
Shui-bian's planned constitutional re-engineering
scheduled for 2006 might outweigh its concern over the
`anti-secession law.' This is where the irony lies."


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