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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Taiwan's Who Bid and Cross-

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

180920Z May 05




E.O. 12958: N/A

1. Summary: As Taiwan dailies continued to cover
Taiwan's failure to join the assembly of the World
Health Organization (WHO) for nine consecutive years
May 18, the focus has shifted to Beijing's attempt to
block the revisions of the International Health
Regulations and President Chen Shui-bian's comments on
Beijing's move. A page-two news story of the pro-
independence "Liberty Times," Taiwan's biggest daily,
headlined: "Bian criticized Lien and Soong for denying
Taiwan's sovereignty in China." The sub-headline
added: "[Chen] said Chinese Health Minister Gao Qiang's
statement has proved that Lien's and Soong's remarks
and behaviors in China were exactly why China
suppressed Taiwan at the WHO. KMT and PFP refuted
[Chen's remarks and] criticized Bian for shirking his
responsibility because of his incompetence with regard
to cross-Strait policy." The front-page story of the
pro-independence "Taiwan Daily" and the page-three news
story of the pro-unification "United Daily News" all
had similar reports. The "Liberty Times" reported on
its second page that Washington urged the WHO to
contact Taiwan officials about Taiwan's WHO bid, and
the "China Times" printed on its page two that "The
health ministers of Taiwan and the United States will
meet today."

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2. Several newspapers editorialized today on Taiwan's
failure to join the WHO for nine consecutive years.
The "Liberty Times" editorial said China's move to
block Taiwan's WHO bid may be seen as positive for
Taiwan since the island has finally seen through
China's scam. A "China Times" editorial urged Taiwan
to use flexible and smart strategies to create more
strength and resources for the island and thereby
garner international support for its bid to join the
WHO. A limited-circulation, pro-independence, English-
language "Taipei Times" editorial called WHO bowed
before China's pressure again, while a limited-
circulation, pro-unification, English-language "China
Post" editorial said China has adopted a new strategy
to pressure Taipei to accept the one China tenet. A
"Taipei Times" commentary on current cross-Strait
relations said Washington and Beijing are now competing
for influence over Taiwan. End summary.

A) "China Cheats and Fools Lien and Soong? Political
Hoax Appears Again"

The pro-independence "Liberty Times" [circulation:
800,000] editorialized (5/18):

". Taiwan's has failed again with regard to its efforts
to become an observer at the Assembly of the World
Health Organization. Taiwan people need not feel
disheartened about such a development. Instead, they
should be happy that following the wave of blind China
fever on the island, which was sparked by [KMT
Chairman] Lien Chan's and [PFP Chairman] James Soong's
recent China trips and which suppressed all rational
thinking and obscured the route to upholding Taiwan's
sovereignty and identity, China's barbarous move to
invalidate the communiqus it signed with Lien and
Soong came in time to unveil the false impression of
peace that China has recently created. Beijing's move
has also exposed its lies about its willingness to
assist Taiwan's bid to join the international community
and allowed most Taiwan people to see clearly the true
face of China. Just as President Chen Shui-bian has
pointed out, Lien's and Soong's China trips have failed
to obtain more space for Taiwan to maneuver in the
international community. China, on the contrary, has
not only failed to give Taiwan more room in the
international community but has also belittled,
marginalized and localized Taiwan. It is thus believed
that Chen, given such an understanding, will surely
modify the erroneous route he adopted after his meeting
with Soong [in February] and will try harder to
consolidate and strengthen Taiwan's sovereignty and
identity. Judged from this perspective, China's
obstruction of Taiwan's bid to join the WHA this time
can be viewed as a gain for Taiwan as Taiwan has seen
through Beijing's scam."

B) "Following the Ninth Failure of [Taiwan's] Bid to
Join the WHO"

The centrist, pro-status quo "China Times"
[circulation: 600,000] observed in an editorial (5/18):

". As expected, Beijing has again strongly blocked the
[WHO's] passage of the International Health Regulations
(IHR) and attempted to modify the contents of IHR. In
other words, even though Beijing appeared to speak nice
words and act in a flexible manner [toward Taiwan], it
was relentless in its move to thwart Taiwan's space in
the international community. [For Taiwan], even though
its efforts to seek dignity in international society
can become an issue on the agenda of its talks with
Beijing, to use flexible and smart strategies to create
Taiwan's strength and resources and thereby garner
international support is actually the best bargaining
chip that Taiwan can use in cross-Strait talks as well
as for its existence and development."

C) "The WHO Bows before China Again"

The pro-independence, English-language "Taipei Times"
[circulation: 30,000] commented in an editorial (5/18):

"Pundits who thought the trips to China by Chinese
Nationalist Party Chairman (KMT) Lien Chan and People
First Party Chairman James Soong would elicit a more
civilized form of behavior from Beijing were fooling
themselves. Beijing has once again blocked Taipei's
application to join the World Health Organization
(WHO), and thus China's `united front' strategy and
hypocrisy in creating the illusion of `peaceful
intentions' for international consumption is plain to
see. Equally obvious is Beijing's lust for Taiwan's
territory at the expense of the health and security of
Taiwanese people. .

"China's tactics prove that the agreements Hu reached
with Lien and Soong - both of whom long for unification
- are worth less than the paper on which they are
printed. Taiwan's experience on this attempt to attend
the WHA should show simple-minded officials and
politicians who insist on building mechanisms of mutual
trust that there is no trust to be found from Beijing,
and that anyone who deals with China in any capacity
should be wary and prepare for some disappointing
outcomes. ."

D) "New PRC Strategy to Pressure Taipei to Take One
China Tenet"

Editorial of the conservative, pro-unification, English-
language "China Post" [circulation: 30,000] wrote

"This year, Taiwan failed again in its annual bid to
join the World Health Organization (WHO), including an
unsuccessful attempt to become an observer at the
body's highest decision making organ, the assembly.
But events regarding Taiwan's latest participation
efforts took a sharp turn, posing a new challenge for
Taipei. .

"According to the conclusions Beijing has reached with
the WHO, Taipei must apply for admission as part of
China, using the name of `Taiwan, China.' Obviously,
this name arrangement is unacceptable to us, as it
simply does not correspond with Taiwan's longstanding
political status quo. Should we accept the name
designation, it will deeply degrade Taiwan's standing
and gravely damage its interests.

"The membership issue has once again demonstrated the
need for the administration of President Chen Shui-bian
to put aside its political ideology and enter into
talks with Beijing. .

"It appears very likely that Beijing may use the new
arrangements with the WHO as a formula for Taiwan's
entry in the future into other world organizations, in
which statehood is required for membership. Taiwan may
choose not to accept this model, if it prefers to
continuously stay outside. But the price will be
highly damaging. Taiwan must continue to suffer being
isolated internationally. And its companies will
remain denied convenient access to the world's largest
market because of political feuds that make
normalization of economic relations impossible."

E) "US Flails as Hu Jintao Gains the Upper Hand"

Lai I-chung, Director of Foreign Policy Studies at the
Taiwan Thinktank, noted in the pro-independence,
English-language "Taipei Times" [circulation: 30,000]

"The fuss stirred up by the talks that Chinese
Nationalist Party (KMT) Chairman Lien Chan and People
First Party Chairman James Soong held with Chinese
President Hu Jintao has finally settled down. However,
as the dust clears we can perceive a major change in
the dynamics between China, Taiwan and the US regarding
the Taiwan Strait.

"Hu has managed to take the upper hand in cross-strait
issues form the US. Washington, whose role no longer
appears quite as dominant as it was, is now vying with
Beijing for influence over Taiwan. In addition, the
US' ability to define the nature of the status quo in
the Taiwan Strait is beginning to slip. .

"In point of fact, the US should have paid more
attention to these talks [i.e. Lien-Hu talks and Soong-
Hu talks] and not be suckered into thinking they were a
precursor for talks between Hu and President Chen Shui-

"The US should have insisted that the process be
peaceful and cautioned that its results conform to the
wishes of the Taiwanese people. If it had done so,
Washington would still have been able to call the
shots, define the bottom line, and have some control
over how the situation develops.

"This lack of understanding caused US statements prior
to the visits to be interpreted as a blank check for
Lien and Soong to say whatever they wanted in china.
The US' emphasis was on paving the way for a meeting
between Chen and Hu, but after Lien started making
public statements in China, Washington belatedly
realized that things were out of control.

"Washington's call for a dialogue between Chen and Hu
are now too late. These would simply be regarded as
yet another meeting between political parties. The
ability of the US to have a decisive influence on the
current cross-strait situation has therefore been
greatly diminished by Hu's political tactics to sow
dissent among political parties in Taiwan. .

"With China and the US competing for influence over
Taiwan, it is likely that a pro-China and pro-US camp
will emerge in response. . this will be one of the
greatest challenges that Taiwan's democracy has ever


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