Cablegate: Media Reaction: U.S. And Cross-Strait

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

040832Z Apr 05




E.O. 12958: N/A

Summary: Focus of the major Chinese-language Taipei
dailies fell on local politics and the possibly
upcoming visits to China by KMT Chairman Lien Chan and
PFP Chairman James Soong. The centrist "China Times"
ran a banner headline on its front page April 4 that
read: "James Soong: Seriously considering Beijing's
invitation to visit China." On the same day, however,
Taiwan's largest daily, the pro-independence "Liberty
Times," carried a page two story that said "James Soong
questioned the timing and the role of Chiang when he
visited China." In addition, the "China Times" noted
in an editorial that all three major political parties
in Taiwan have been racing to play the cross-Strait
relations card lately, but the real climax of this
gambling game, according to the article, lies in how
the behind-the-scenes United States will now play its
card. End summary.

"It's the Big Brother's Turn to Show His Card Now"

The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 600,000] noted in an editorial (4/4):

"The three major political parties [in Taiwan] have all
been busy playing the cross-Strait [relations] card
lately. . But the real climax of this gambling game is
to see how the United States, which hides itself behind
the game, will play its card.

"The real reason that forced [President] Chen Shui-bian
to abandon his plan to write a new constitution for
Taiwan, to rectify the island's name, and to return to
the so-called new middle-of-the-road route was not the
[DPP's] defeat in last year-end's Legislative Yuan
elections or Beijing's intimidation. Instead, it was
the behind-the-scene strong pressure from the United
States that forced Chen to do so. [PFP Chairman] James
Soong [faced a similar situation]; Soong found a new
political foothold for himself because of [his
connection with] the United States, and that was how
the Chen-Soong meeting was born. The same for the KMT
-- it dared to move westbound boldly to visit Beijing
simply because it knows that in the short term, Chen
must maintain a moderate attitude toward cross-Strait
issues. It is the United States who plays the key role
in all these series of changes and developments.

"But what really displeased Washington about Chen was
not his pro-independence stance but his disobedience.
That is why Washington wants to teach Chen a lesson.
Chen's recent performance was like a student who tried
very hard to do good in order to make up for his
demerit record. . A-bian knows very clearly that an
obedient prodigal son can please the United States
better than a prodigal son that returns.

"On the other hand, even though the KMT emphasized that
its meetings with the Chinese Communist Party were to
alleviate cross-Strait tensions and accomplish
something that the DPP has failed to do, the KMT might,
if acting carelessly, likely step on the red line drawn
by the United States on the other end. The KMT's move
might make the United States which was originally
worried about a possible outbreak of conflicts across
the Taiwan Strait to start concerning that the
accelerated development of the cross-Strait relations
might run counter to the interests of Washington ."

"The United States is in general pleased with the Chen
Shui-bian administration's recent performance. But now
it may be the KMT's turn to become the target that
receives pressure from the United States."


© Scoop Media

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